If you were the primary income earner in your marital home, then it may be reasonable to assume that your ex-spouse will have difficulty transitioning into their post-divorce life in Boston on their own. For this reason, you may be willing to help assist them through alimony payments, especially having the understanding that your obligation to continue to pay ends when they are able to sustain the same standard of living you achieved while married.
In many cases, that will come when they secure gainful employment. Yet if supporting themselves financially is not an option, then their reliance on you might not end until they remarry. Yet even if they do enter into a new relationship, they may believe that as long as they do not get married, you will remain obligated to continue to pay alimony.
Fortunately for you, this is not the case. Lawmakers understand that couples can indeed enter into a supportive relationship without getting married. Knowing this, amendments to state alimony laws have been enacted to account for this. Per Section 49(d) of Massachusetts’ General Laws, if you can show that your ex-spouse has cohabitated with a new partner for a period of at least three months, the court may modify (or even terminate) your alimony obligation.
Your claim that your ex-spouse and their partner share a common household is typically not enough to justify changing your agreement. Rather, the court considers many factors, including:
- The reputation of their relationship to others
- The collaborative roles they have assumed in anticipation of furthering their lives together
- The degree of economic interdependence they have established together
For the purposes of this statute, “economic interdependence” can mean comingling funds, establishing financial accounts or purchasing property together.