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Terminating Alimony for Cohabitation in Utah

Will my obligation to pay alimony to my ex-spouse be terminated if cohabitation is proven?

Utah law on divorce and alimony provides that the obligation to pay alimony to a former spouse is terminated upon a showing that the former spouse is cohabitating with another person. The obligation to pay alimony also terminates upon the remarriage of a former spouse who is receiving alimony. For assistance in terminating alimony, divorce, or other family law matters, contact a Utah family law attorney in Salt Lake City today.

What is the process of terminating alimony obligations?

Unless the divorce decree specifically states otherwise, Utah law provides that the obligation to pay alimony is automatically terminated upon the remarriage or death of the former spouse receiving alimony. Court hearings may not be required where remarriage has occurred.

In circumstances involving cohabitation (without remarriage), the alimony obligation is not automatically terminated. Instead, court proceedings must be initiated, where evidence proving cohabitation may be required. Allegations of cohabitation can be hotly contested, as thousands of dollars over a period of years can be at stake.

How is "cohabitation" defined under Utah law?

While many terms involving divorce are defined specifically by the legislature and made a part of the Utah statutory code, "cohabitation" is not defined by statute. Instead, the concept of cohabitation has been interpretted by case law through Utah's appellate courts.

Utah's appellate courts have described the relationship necessary to show cohabitation as one "akin to that generally existing between husband and wife" - in other words, a relationship similar to marriage, but not necessarily rising to the level of a "common law" marriage. Two chief elements considered by courts in determining cohabitation are: 1) the existence of a sexual relationship; and 2) the sharing of a common residence.

In analyzing the sexual relationship, courts require more than a one-night stand. Instead, courts describe sexual conduct evidencing participation in a relatively permanent sexual relationship similar to that which generally exists in marriage.

Proof of a common residence requires more than just proof a few overnight stays. Courts can look at a wide range of factors that can include factors including shared expenses and financial management, shared decision-making processes, and consistency with which both individuals stay in the same residence.

Finding a Utah Divorce and Alimony Attorney in Salt Lake City

The laws and procedures governing divorce and alimony in Utah are complicated. These cases can also be highly emotionally charged. Based in Salt Lake City, we serve clients throughout Utah. Contact us today to see how an experienced Utah divorce attorney can help you.


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