In the spirit of the Halloween season, I thought I’d discuss a topic that strikes fear in the hearts and minds of many divorcing parties — ALIMONY!!!

In many folks’ minds, “alimony is the boogey man” of Family Law. If you are the potential payor of alimony you want to know how you can keep the dreaded alimony away. Are there any magic potions that can be conjured up to ward off alimony? Is there an elixir one can take to make you immune to alimony?

On the other hand, if you are the recipient of alimony, the fears run more along the lines of avoiding any snares or traps that might cause you to lose alimony.

This week’s question arises out of a context in which alimony is being paid to a former spouse by contractual agreement.
Question: Will the obligation to pay alimony terminate in the event the ex-spouse begins “cohabitating” with another person?

Answer: It depends. Unless a party has expressly identified “cohabitation” as a condition that triggers termination of the obligation to pay alimony in the parties’ separation agreement, then the alimony obligation continues. Even if a party includes a cohabitation clause in the separation agreement, the court will have to find that the arrangement between the ex-spouse and the person with whom the ex-spouse lives constitutes “cohabitation” as a matter of fact.