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Is proving cohabitation to end alimony worth your time and money?

Those who have not experienced a divorce may think that once the divorce papers are signed, the hardest part is over. For some couples in Colorado and across the nation, that might be true. For others, though, the divorce decree could be the beginning of more legal battles. For those who pay alimony to an ex-spouse, realizing that he or she is cohabitating with another person can be difficult on many levels.

Some people have a hard time accepting that their ex has moved on and is with someone else. Emotions can run high, and you may be angry, especially if you are paying alimony. However, before you start thinking about fighting the alimony payments in court, you should consider what it might cost you to prove cohabitation.

The requirements for proving cohabitation are not the same in all states. In most cases, though, you have to prove that your ex is living with someone as if they are married. That means there must be social, sexual and financial dependency between your ex and another. Don't expect your ex to admit to cohabitating with someone -- especially if he or she is receiving payments for spousal support. He or she will likely vehemently deny such accusations and may go even so far as to have friends, neighbors and even your children deny it as well.

There are several things to consider when trying to prove that your ex is cohabitating. You may need an experienced private investigator to document various cohabitating occurrences. Friends, family, neighbors and others may need to be questioned -- and they must agree to present the information in court.

Filing for a Motion to Terminate Alimony is easy enough for your divorce attorney; however, proving cohabitation is often not. Depending on the amount of evidence you can or cannot collect, you may find that simply continuing to pay the alimony is less expensive. For most people, though, it's not about the money but rather the legality of it all.

Source: Huffington Post, "How to Evaluate if Cohabitation Has Placed Alimony at Risk" Diane L. Danois, Mar. 21, 2014

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