Is living with a roommate of the opposite sex, considered to be “co-habitation” for support purposes?

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Is living with a roommate of the opposite sex, considered to be “co-habitation” for support purposes?

I just got divorced and was awarded alimony. My court papers say no co-habitation with the opposite sex. What if we are just roommates?

Asked on December 4, 2010 under Family Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Having a roommate does not in and of itself equal "co-habitation".  Co-habitation has been loosely defined as not necessarily holding oneself out to be Husband and Wife, but is more than a simple roommate or "boarding arrangement."  There must be a showing of a sexual, romantic or at least a "homemaker-companion" relationship.

The philosophy underlying the co-habitation statute is that parties who share a household and have a relationship should not benefit by continuing to receive spousal support without some consideration being given to the reduced financial need that results from this sharing.  A finding of co-habitation allows for a rebuttable presumption of a decreased need for spousal support.  However, simply having a roommate can have the same effect (i.e. support a finding sufficient to modify spousal support), since a roommate's contributions to living expenses (rent) is income.


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