Modifying Alimony Payments in Mississippi due to Cohabitation
If you are making alimony payments, chances are the court determined that your spouse required financial assistance. Gone are the days of punishing a cheating spouse. In today’s divorce agreements, alimony is based purely on financial need. For that reason, it is often referred to as spousal support. Making changes to the amount paid will require the advocacy of an experienced family law attorney.
What is a Typical Alimony Payment?
There is no “typical” alimony payment. The amount of spousal support ordered by the court will depend on a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, the education of both partners, and the earning capacity of each individual. Indeed, the courts will look at the lifestyle enjoyed by the couple prior to the divorce, and will work create a fair distribution of wealth, including providing alimony in some cases.
In Mississippi, alimony may come in two forms:
- Lump sum: a defined amount to be paid in one or more payments which cannot be altered later due to death or remarriage;
- Periodic payment: an amount paid on a regular basis, but that may be amended due to death, marriage or cohabitation.
When couples live together and their finances, social, and sexual lives are intertwined, they are living in circumstances similar to a marriage, and are considered to be cohabitating. Since a certain level of financial support now exists, it may constitute a legal reason to take another look at alimony disbursements.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for individuals who are receiving alimony payments to do whatever they can to continue getting those monies, including denying cohabitation. It may be up to the individual who is obligated to make alimony payments to establish that the former spouse truly is benefitting from cohabitation.
Establishing Cohabitation when the Former Spouse Denies it
The reason cohabitation matters is that a former spouse may not truly require the assistance of alimony payments anymore. A number of questions can help to determine whether or not actual cohabitation is occurring:
- How many consecutive nights does the couple typically spend together?
- Are there shared household chores?
- Are children instructed as to how to describe the relationship?
- Does the couple share a bank account, phone plan, or car payment?
- Does social media indicate more than a causal relationship?
- Is the garage packed with someone else’s property?
If it’s looking like your former spouse truly is benefiting financially from cohabitating, it may be worth pursuing the matter in court. Making an all out effort to collect evidence to prove cohabitation is easier now than ever, thanks to the electronic footprint that is left behind as we meander through life. Records and timestamps are fairly easy to obtain, providing a pretty clear picture of the financial status of your ex.
Your Legal Advocate
Sometimes adjusting the alimony payment is simply the right thing to do. If that’s the case in your scenario, the experienced team at the office of Derek L. Hall, PC can help. Contact us in Jackson for a free, confidential consultation today.