In Maryland, when alimony is awarded by the Court, it will be terminated upon the death of either party, the remarriage of the alimony recipient, or payment of the alimony in full – whichever comes first.
There are also courts that will either terminate or reduce alimony payments if the recipient is cohabiting with another person in a romantic relationship.
Discovering whether someone is cohabiting, or has remarried, is often not easy. Strong evidence must be presented to your family law attorney, who can determine whether your alimony payments can be stopped.
Here are some tips for gathering that evidence:
- Surveillance. Video footage of a romantic interest traveling from work to your ex’s home, staying the night, and returning to work the following morning is ideal. This can make for a compelling argument that someone has taken up residency — particularly if this pattern is repeated on subsequent nights. But remember: surveillance cannot break any laws, such as trespassing. It is strongly advised you contact an experienced private investigator for assistance.
- Payment for Home Expenses. Cohabiters often feel compelled to handle one or more of the utility bills. This is usually not the type of evidence that can be discovered without filing litigation, so you will need enough to strongly suspect cohabitation before filing. Once you file, your ex will often learn to hide a relationship better, so obtaining as much information before filing is usually a good idea.
Once you are in litigation, you can use the discover process to see if the other person is using your ex’s address for a driver’s license, car registration, voter’s registration, bank accounts, bank loans, or credit cards. Often, if the new partner does not have his or her own address, it is good evidence of cohabitation. Interestingly, some people will even scan through trash cans to look for evidence of cohabitation, but this could run afoul of trespass laws.
- Social Media. Social media can provide a wealth of evidence for many family law cases. Cohabitation is no different. People often “brag” about a new relationship on Facebook, Instagram, and more, and these instances could help lead to the termination of alimony.
There are strong, controversial legal issues with using cohabitation to terminate an alimony obligation. Meeting with an experienced attorney should always be your first stop for beginning the conversation.
SIEGELLAW can help you take steps to ensure that your rights and your future are well-protected. Fill out the form on this page or call us at 410-792-2300 to learn more.