• Rick McGinnis

Spousal Support What do I do now?

"SPOUSAL SUPPORT", which refers to payments from one spouse to another during or after a divorce. Either spouse can be ordered to pay support to the other. This is based on income and resources, not gender.

A supported spouse's cohabitation with another person, by itself, won't terminate alimony in Ohio, although it may be grounds for terminating alimony. ... If the court determines that a cohabitant is financially supporting the supported spouse, the judge is likely to reduce or terminate alimony.

The Court of Appeals ruled there are three factors to consider: (1) An actual living together; (2) Of a sustained duration; and (3) With shared expenses with respect to financing and day-today incidental expenses.

The Evidence for Termination:

In this case, the direct evidence of the unexplained funds in Ex-Wife’s account leads to the logical inference that Ex-Wife is receiving funds from Boyfriend. The Court went on to state that they must accept one of two positions. Option one, that Boyfriend is merely a visitor at Ex-Wife’s home, living off Ex-Wife, who makes substantially less than him. Option two, that Ex-Wife and Boyfriend are two intelligent individuals who understand cohabitation, but are trying to delude the court. Either Boyfriend is a “moocher” or he is paying his way. However, both Ex-Wife and Boyfriend agree if that they were married, their financial situations would not change except for healthcare.

The Court of Appeals then concluded that the third factor in determining cohabitation, shared expenses with respect to financing and day-to-day incidental expenses, has been minimally satisfied and the trial court erred in not finding cohabitation. They reversed the Trial Court’s ruling, resulting in the termination of Husband’s spousal support. The Court then returned the case back to the Trial Court for a determination as to when cohabitation first started, so the termination of spousal support could be applied retroactively.

Husband Receives Retroactive Reimbursement for Spousal Support!

On remand, the trial court awarded father $90,360.00 in overpayment of spousal support. Child support that was to be paid by our Client under a previous order was ordered to be subtracted by the amount owed by Ex-Wife to reimburse our Client for spousal support. Upon the child’s emancipation, our Client would receive the remainder of the $90,360.00 still owed.

How do you get out of paying SPOUSAL SUPPORT?

A supported spouse's cohabitation with another person, by itself, won't terminate alimony in Ohio, although it may be grounds for terminating alimony. ... If the court determines that a cohabitant is financially supporting the supported spouse, the judge is likely to reduce or terminate alimony.

How can individuals prove their ex is cohabiting in order to terminate an alimony obligation early?

It may be uncomfortable, but it is worthwhile to keep up with your ex after a divorce, especially if paying alimony. Some types of alimony can be terminated if your ex is cohabiting with someone.

This “someone” does not necessarily have to be a romantic partner. Also, regular sleepovers may be considered “cohabiting,” so it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as you have a hint that something has changed.

For instance, either you or a mutual “friend” should regularly check your ex’s Social Media and be ready to screenshot and/or print pictures. It is important to do that as you go because once your ex becomes aware that alimony may be terminated, she may become more careful and less forthcoming. Also make sure you have a date and time on the photos or screen shots. (you have time and date in the bottom right hand corner of your laptop for when you found the possible evidence in photos).

Sometimes, you will learn information directly from your ex. Simply keeping up a cordial relationship may mean she gives you information. Any information will alert you to dig a little deeper. Eventually, it may be worthwhile to hire a private investigator. An experienced attorney in your area can walk you through the cost/benefit. Also check with a private investigator so you can get their thoughts also.

It is very important that you discuss cohabitation issues or any other terms that might end a maintenance (alimony / spousal support) obligation early with a local attorney in your area to better understand your options.

Never assume that because your ex-spouse is involved in another relationship that your obligation automatically ends. It is much better to be cautious, speak with an attorney regarding your options and then act accordingly.

A simple – yet not inexpensive – way to prove that your wife is cohabitating is to hire a private investigator, or PI. A private investigator also has other sources like databases to do backgrounds and identify vehicles and the owners of the vehicles.

A PI can document the comings and goings of your ex, as well as anyone who resides or appears to reside with her. It is telling for a car, driven by a male, to be parked outside of an ex’s residence for long durations during the late evening and morning hours.

With hiring a PI there is a cost involved, but it could certainly save you thousands in the long run as well as stalking / harassment charges or Domestic Violence Protective Orders should you decide to undertake surveillance yourself and are caught.

Whether the wife has entered into a marriage-like relationship can be very difficult to prove, and usually involves first filing a motion to modify the existing maintenance order and then conducting formal discovery to obtain information about the nature of the wife’s relationship.

Discovery can reveal whether she and the person she’s cohabitating with are sharing income, whether that person is contributing to household expenses, etc.

In particularly difficult cases, a private investigator may need to be hired if wife is denying that her significant other is living with her. Cohabitation is not automatic grounds for maintenance termination, we have to be able to show that the person wife is cohabitating with is helping to support her/sharing household expenses.

Two fairly inexpensive and easy ways of proving a spouse is cohabitating are filing a public records request and using the power of the subpoena. (By an Attorney)

Public Records Request — Make records request for the address in question from all law enforcement agencies in that jurisdiction. (By an Attorney)

It provides an attorney not only with the names of persons who have listed that address as their residence, but also provides me with details for any police involvement at the address or involving persons who live at that address.

Attorneys can issue a subpoena to the utility companies servicing the address, the landlord and any banks with a mortgage on the property requesting not only the leasing statements, deeds, bank statements closing statements and loan applications, but also any checks or documents which show the person making payments to them for the address.

This usually will show any person who is contributing to paying bills and also the person(s) who is / are listed as residing there.

The next step is to ask for lease agreements, deeds and bank statements.

Also, look for changes in your ex’s financial habits. If suddenly large purchases are being made or she is taking expensive vacations, this may be evidence that she has more “play money” since someone else is helping with monthly expenses.

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