Cohabitation And Alimony Newsletter
The typical Separation Agreement has written into it the following language:
Alimony shall terminate on the earlier of the a) death of the plaintiff; b) death of the defendant; c) remarriage of the recipient; or d) cohabitation by the recipient as defined by Conn. Gen. Stat. §46b-86(b).
The question that arises is what constitutes “cohabitation by the recipient as defined by
Conn. Gen. Stat. §46b-86(b).” The answer to that is that the new living arrangement must result in a change in the financial circumstances so as alter the financial needs of the recipient. For example, a change in circumstances that is sufficient to satisfy the financial requirement of Conn. Gen. Stat. §46b-86(b) for termination of alimony. Merely living together is not enough.
Under Conn. Gen. Stat. §46b-86(b), a finding of cohabitation requires: a) that the alimony recipient is cohabitating with another party and b) that there is a change in the recipient’s financial needs. However, the altered financial need may be caused by a reduction in her expenses during the time of cohabitation rather than the contribution of the cohabitant. Examples of this would be sharing of rent, performance of services on the property that save the recipient money, sharing of food and so forth but the change in circumstances must be specific and measurable. The court must have the ability to compare financial need of the recipient at different points of time in a measurable way to ascertain whether his or her needs have increased or decreased. Moreover, the Separation Agreement must incorporate the provisions in Conn. Gen. Stat. §46b-86(b) to modify alimony. Otherwise, alimony will be terminated rather than modified.
For a potential litigant, it is important to gather documentation that the couple is living
together in the form of envelopes addressed to the residence of the recipient, leases signed by the cohabitants, a pattern of staying at the recipient’s residence (or the cohabitant’s residence) many nights in succession over a period of time and so forth.