Spousal support payments do not end based upon the cohabitation of the recipient spouse. But there is a presumption of decreased need when a recipient spouse cohabits. Oftentimes the dispute is whether there is a cohabitation or whether there’s merely some co-tenancy or co-occupancy of premises.
Now the cases and the statutes, both in California and Nevada don’t require that there be a romantic or personal component to the cohabitation of a recipient spouse with another. It really looks at the cost saving or the economic impact – two can live more cheaply than one, that there’s an economy of scale. And if people are now sharing expenses with somebody living under the same roof, they don’t need as much in support.
But nothing happens automatically. That presumption might give rise to the paying spouse seeking relief from the court. And in the absence of an agreement between the spouses, it will take an order of court based upon cohabitation to affect the change in support.
Leslie Shaw practices family law in both California and Nevada, and has been involved in close to 1,000 family law matters largely involving litigation throughout his 40 year career. He is also a Certified Family Law Attorney, a status granted by the California Board of Legal Specialization.