If a man and woman have been living together in an intimate relationship for over 15 years, does the woman’s ex-husband still have to pay alimony?

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2012

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If a man and woman have been living together in an intimate relationship for over 15 years, does the woman’s ex-husband still have to pay alimony?

The ex-husband has been paying alimony for over 17 years. They were married for 13. The 2 children are 24 and 21 and living out of the house, although their father still supports them financially if needed. Their divorce papers states that the ex-husband is to pay the ex-wife until death of either party, remarriage of the ex wife or until further order of the court. That was 7 years ago. She lives in England; he lives in the US.

Asked on June 10, 2012 under Family Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The time line here is a little off and needs clarification but that does not hinder helping with the problem.  In California, unless the parties have "otherwise agreed" in writing (i.e., their divorce agreement), the supported party's cohabitation with a person of the opposite sex gives rise to a rebuttable presumption, affecting the burden of proof, of decreased need for spousal support. [Ca Fam § 4323(a)(1)]. The person seeking a spousal support reduction or termination need simply show the other party is now "cohabiting with a person of the opposite sex." But is has to be more than sharing an apartment, so to speak. There must be a showing of a sexual, romantic or at least a "homemaker-companion" relationship. ANd the husband here has to ask the court to modify the order.  He can not just do so on his own. Good luck.

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