Alimony Connecticut Cohabitation

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Latest post 06-03-2013 1:24 PM by OliviasMom. 62 replies.
  • 04-12-2013 8:46 AM

    Alimony Connecticut Cohabitation

    Divorced July 2012. I pay $2000/month  Alimony in Connecticut. Divorce Decree specifically states that it reduces to $1000/mo if she cohabitates.

    The ex-wife and the man have each posted publically on their facebook page that they have been in a relationship with each other since Nov 2011.  Also ex-wife  sent me an email that she is indeed staying at his place.  I say this is proof of cohabitation and I can reduce alimony without having to go back to court because the divorce decree specifically states that alimony is reduced to $1000/month if she cohabitates. Does anyone agree with me?  Do I need to return to court? Do I need an attorney?

     

  • 04-12-2013 8:51 AM In reply to

    • DOCAR
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    Re: Alimony Connecticut Cohabitation

    The answer to your question depends upon CT law and the exact wording of your decree and no CT attorneys follow these boards at this time.  I would take the decree to an experienced CT family attorney before you do anything to reduce the alimony payments.

  • 04-12-2013 9:03 AM In reply to

    • Kivi
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    Re: Alimony Connecticut Cohabitation

    I suspect that if you just unilaterally reduce your monthly alimony amount to $1000, she is going to drag you back to court on contempt of court charges anyway. So, you probably are not going to be able to avoid court, unless there really is something in your divorce decree about what constitutes "cohabitation" or she decides not to fight about it. (For an extra $1000 a month, I don't consider that last one very likely. But, you know your ex far better than we do.)

    Might be better to be proactive than reactive. Consult a local attorney. If he or she agrees that you have enough evidence (and it is otherwise a worthwhile project), then you file to reduce alimony on grounds of cohabitation. That puts her on the defense.

    You don't mention how long you are obligated to pay alimony. It's is one thing if this is life time alimony. Quite another if your alimony obligation is going to terminate in six months anyway.

  • 04-12-2013 9:14 AM In reply to

    Re: Alimony Connecticut Cohabitation

    Agree with Kivi.

    You are likely to find yourself in court if you just cut the support.

    So I'd say the choice is yours as to what you do.  You know your ex better than we do.

    If she was foolish enough to email you to say she is living with her boyfriend, depending on how your divorce degree reads, that might be some important evidence for you to hang onto.

     

  • 04-12-2013 9:18 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Alimony Connecticut Cohabitation

    Laymans guess-- Its not quite that simple-- as other posts on cohabitation here have addressed it is hard  and there are some lengthy discussions of "cohabitation" in CT and other places on line. And in some views it goes beyond just living together but requires some elements of mutual economic support etc. akin to marriage w/o being married.

    Has she terminated  any other place to live--how about him? 

    Be wary if she maintains even a cosmetic place of residence elsewhere!!!.

    Me, just personal view - I would seek to build a much firmer foundation  of multiple emails and postings about  the relevant new  relationship and common household  ---much firmer !   And not having a separate residence elsewhere if that fits the facts.

    Then pull the plug as per the order and force her to address it.

    Even smarter---work it out ahead of time with seasoned CT counsel so your foundation is likely to hold up in the relevant forum .  The last thing in the world you want is to be  almost  to point of  her not being to able to prove she is not cohabiting and she gets alerted and makes some quick changes to cure the apparent picture and you are back to ground zero --at $2000/mo



  • 04-12-2013 10:16 AM In reply to

    Re: Alimony Connecticut Cohabitation

    She has no other place to live.  I still have 22 months of alimony left to pay. The divorced decree word for word reads:

    "The Plaintiff shall pay to Defendant for rehabilitative spousal maintenance, the sum of $2,000.00 per month payable on the twentieth day of each month commencing on February 20,2012 and continuing thereafter until the earliest of the following events (i) death of either party, (ii) remarriage of the Defendant, (iii) a total of 36 payments have been made.
    If the defendant cohabitates with another person the alimony payment will reduce to $1000.00 per month. The 36 month period is non-modifiable."

    The way I see it is if I reduce payments to $1000, I would still be following the court order.  If she hauls me back to court, I am hoping that her e-mail confirming cohabitation along with both their facebook pages would be my proof.  Yes I will consult with an attorney.  I am hoping that e-mails will hold up in court.

     

  • 04-12-2013 10:33 AM In reply to

    Re: Alimony Connecticut Cohabitation

    Someone saying they stay at someone's house does NOT mean they are living together. You would need proof, ... mortgage, rental agreement, lease, etc... not a fb comment saying they are staying there. It isn't the same.

     

  • 04-12-2013 11:20 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Alimony Connecticut Cohabitation

    Laymans guess:

    The more common problem is that to modify CT alimony is a 3 step process , 1 to prove cohabitation, 2 to prove an economic change , 3 to apply some formula to the new economic picture.  You are seemingly very lucky in that you need only show #1

    Don't blow it.

    Cohabitation per se does not require sex or shared economics  or always under same roof but it sure seems like the more links the easier it is to demonstrate .

    Start with this idea and search forward for clues, basically cohabitation  is the romantic dwelling of a man and woman together in the same place. “Cohabitation is a dwelling together of man and woman in the same place in the manner of husband and wife.” Wolk v. Wolk, 191 Conn. 328, 332, 464 A.2d 780 (1983). (Note this was pre the days of sex neutral  everything! )

    Personally I think you are light/short of a convincing foundation that they are cohabitating --at least as you post it. I think this is one place where quantity of separate comments about living together  will be key to sustaining your point of view --and I'd sure try for a few more nails to build this one and then act swiftly  .

    Read literally  as a layman I don't think the order as to that section prevents you from unilaterally taking the view that she is cohabitating and applying  that wording already in the order  to your payments --for sure it will be a big invitation to debate but  it may be a point that can be successfully defended.



  • 04-12-2013 11:50 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Alimony Connecticut Cohabitation

    Look at Ct Supreme Court in 1999  DeMaria v DeMaria ---it may be a very relevant case as to your point of view. and even includes that DeMaria unilaterally stopped paying.



  • 04-12-2013 12:42 PM In reply to

    Re: Alimony Connecticut Cohabitation

    Thank you all for the advise.  I am first going to try to get the ex to actually agree that she is cohabitating. I am trying to make an appoint ment with a local attorney as I have a week before I have to mail the alimony check.

    Here is my method of thinking.......

    1. I already have a divorce decree that states alimony drops to $1000/month if she is cohabitating, so what modification would I have to seek from the court? I already have it.

    2. If I start sending $1000 alimony checks and she brings me into court, I show the judge the public announcement of their relationship and her email stating that she lives with the guy.  I would merely tell the judge I am following the divorce decree. Actually if she motions for contempt she will have to put her address on the court form which will match her boyfriends address which should work even more in my favor.

    So if I do this and the judge does not buy that explanation, what is the worst thing that will happen to me? I have witnessed so many people in family court in contempt and have seen absolutely noting but a slap on the wrist happen to them. Unless someone can point something else out to me, it appears to me that the worst that can happen is the judge does not accept the cohabitation and then I just write another alimony check for the difference.

    At the moment I may be willing to take that chance.

  • 04-12-2013 1:13 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Alimony Connecticut Cohabitation

    I cannot give advice --a few suggestions...

    I doubt your EX is dumb enough to openly agree to you  she is cohabiting  --you may need to be a bit more  crafty in eliciting useful responses ..I don't know what the ones you already have say  and if they  are "enough" but I personally think the more she posts/writes the deeper the hole she digs  but what you don't want to do is let any cat out of bag and have her go a tear to stop cohabiting. !!

    I agree that  to merely do what the order reports to cover is  one way to do it PLUS I don't think even if its an ambiguity that such rises to contempt --and the part you post sure reads clear to me. .

    Smarter to have your lawyer review it. 

    Key to defending  your thinking is a CT  Supreme Ct  decision essentially on point? Read it?

    I'd work backwards to fill in any gaps I could  and plan to issue the lower amount check  at appropriate time?

    I suspect she can find some other paper address other than BF's  after a week or so of "warning."  Wonder what address she used for her tax returns?



  • 04-12-2013 1:16 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Alimony Connecticut Cohabitation

    What address does she use for postal purposes..forwarding ..on the mail box of the dwelling unit if there is one etc  License renewals etc.

    .



  • 04-12-2013 1:22 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Alimony Connecticut Cohabitation

    Is this new man the same one who was the party  in your adultry /infidelity  post last year , if so the link might make some added sense in terms of cohabitation and not simply roommates 



  • 04-12-2013 1:54 PM In reply to

    Re: Alimony Connecticut Cohabitation

    Ex when she moved out rented an apt and it is confirmed she no longer lives there. Yes the man is the same man she had the affair with.  She actually goofed when she emailed me she is living at his place.  She has not tried to deny she is living there.  The alimony checks always went to her PO BOX. She is no longer answering any emails including the one where I told her that if she is NOT living with her boyfriend it would be best to tell me where she is. I think I have a pretty good case here.  I am also sure that boyfriend pays all the bills there so if I reduce the alimony and she wants to contest it, I'll just subpeona all bank accounts of both of them and I am sure I will show a substantial reduction in her expenses. What I probably will do is send one more email and include what I will do if she wants to contest it. For example is the cohabitation was going on for months, I want a refund of the extra alimony and perhaps maybe we can squeeze a contempt charge in there too. I will also mention that if she wants to quickly create an alternate address we'll let the private investigator check that out and I will be asking for attorney fees and expenses if we hit court. It is somewhat of a chess match. Let's see what happens.

  • 04-12-2013 2:15 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Alimony Connecticut Cohabitation

    Personal view --you are absolutely NUTS to send her an email about any of your intentions --it just enable her to improve her defenses or alter her paper facts....NUTS and the one email you did send proabably alerted her! .

    I think you have very low odds as to  reconstruction of the cohabitation to get alimony reset  at the lower figure  UNLESS you are using counsel  and she is stupid enough to admit to cohabitation from the get go --but you best be using counsel to piece that one together.----I see your point  and it makes sense in context of the exact words of your order. But I think its going to be a very hard point to make  pro se. But I do see the possible point that $1000 is the correct alimony to be used to recompute the picture as of the onset of cohabitation.

    I think you have near zero odds at a contempt citation and it begins to smell like a vidictive operation

    Ditto as to  attorney fees and court costs  --you are going to look like you have vindicitve hands (dirty )       POOR CHOICE OF CHESS GAME.

    UNLESS someplace in the order or by law each of you is under some clear duty to advise the other of any change of circumstances --and so far you haven't pointed out any such requirement that she clearly supposedly breeched. .



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