Alimony, also called “spousal support” or “maintenance,” is a contract that says one spouse must pay the other money during and after a divorce. The amount of alimony is based on many different factors, such as how long the couple was married, how well they lived together, and how much each person could earn.
In Kentucky, spousal support ends automatically when the person receiving it gets married again. But it isn’t always easy to move on after a divorce.
What happens if the person receiving alimony gets into a serious relationship with someone new but doesn’t get married or move in together?
This is called “cohabitation,” and the person getting alimony will often hide it for as long as possible so that the payments keep coming. If it is found that cohabitation is happening, alimony can be stopped, changed, or ended.
What does it mean to "live together" in Kentucky?
The state of Kentucky defines cohabitation as “a mutually supportive, close personal relationship in which a couple has taken on duties and rights that are usually associated with marriage or a civil union but does not necessarily share a single household.”
The courts look at 8 things to decide if a couple is living together:
- finances that are tied together, such as joint bank accounts and other assets or debts
- Splitting living costs
- Living together, how often you talk, and other signs of a close, mutually supportive relationship
- Recognition of the couple’s relationship by their friends and family
- How long have they been together
- The promise of help with money from the new partner
- Sharing the housework
- Any other evidence the court thinks is important.
The couple doesn’t have to live together full-time to be considered “cohabiting.”
Who decides changes in alimony?
To ask for a hearing in front of a judge, the person paying alimony must file a motion with the courts. The judge will then look at the preliminary evidence and decide which criteria are most important in that case. The judge makes a decision based on his or her own opinion, not on a strict formula or set of rules.
Often, the person who gets alimony will "deny, deny, deny."
Be ready for the spousal support recipient to say no to living together because he or she doesn’t want the payments to stop. Unfortunately, the person who pays alimony has to prove that the ex-spouse is living with someone else, which can be hard to do.
The person who is paying alimony must ask the court to change it and show “prima facie” evidence that the couple is living together. If the court thinks this evidence is enough, it may give you more time to find more proof, like financial records.
Experienced divorce lawyers have relationships with professionals who can help you gather evidence.
- Private investigators are used to keeping an eye on social media sites, recording essential moments, and looking for patterns of cohabitation.
- Forensic accountants will interpret financial statements during discovery, look for changes in spending habits, and find patterns of shared financial responsibility.
The "Alimony Reform Act" makes it easier for payments to be changed.
The Kentucky Alimony Reform Act of 2014 means that a relationship is no longer “cohabiting” if the recipient doesn’t live with the other person full-time. This change makes it a lot easier for the paying spouse to prove their case.
But the new law doesn’t change divorce agreements that have already been made. It only applies to divorce cases that are still going on and a few settlements that didn’t deal with a relevant issue.
Since the development is still fairly new, case law is still figuring out how to apply them. The divorce lawyers at Paducah Divorce Lawyers keep a close eye on the case law and change how we handle alimony and cohabitation cases based on what we learn.
Kentucky (US) Legal Battles Can Be Avoided Over Living Together
Unlike child support, there is no set formula or procedure for how alimony changes are made. Because of this subjectivity, legal battles over cohabitation can get very heated.
If you still need to finish your divorce, you have a chance to stop future problems before they start. Couples can put a “cohabitation clause” in their divorce agreement that clearly defines what “cohabitation” means and spells out exactly when alimony payments will stop.
For Kentucky alimony changes, you should always talk to a lawyer.
Alimony is not a suggestion, it’s the law. If you try to avoid paying your alimony, you could be charged with disobeying the court. In extreme cases, you could face jail time.
If you don’t agree with the way your alimony is set up now, do the right thing. Hire a lawyer and file a motion with the system to change the terms of your agreement.
Every situation is unique. The divorce lawyers at Paducah Divorce Lawyers will help you organize the facts of your case and gather the right evidence to prove cohabitation.