In Massachusetts, before 2012, recipients of alimony were able to continue receiving these payments even if they were involved in relationships that resembled a marriage. If the recipient officially remarried, however, these payments would be eliminated immediately. Due to the unfairness of this situation, the Massachusetts Alimony Cohabitation provision was created. The new law is designed to suspend, reduce, or terminate alimony if a recipient is cohabitating with a new partner for at least 3 months.
Cohabitating and Alimony in Massachusetts
The term “cohabitation” means that a couple shares a common household and that a certain degree of economic interdependence exists. It does not matter if their community is aware of their status as a couple. Although there is generally a focus on couples who are engaged in a traditional sexual relationship, Massachusetts law does not preclude other relationships. The focus is on finances rather than on whether or not a couple is romantic.
If a recipient of alimony is living with another person, regardless if it is a sexual relationship, the need for these payments may be impacted, which may be considered a substantial change in circumstances and can lead to a modification. That said, only if your case was resolved after March 1, 2012 will this law affect your case. If your case was resolved before this date, cohabitation cannot be grounds for making modifications to an alimony order.
Ultimately, if it is important for you to receive alimony payments, you may want to reconsider cohabitating with another person and the impact it may have on these payments. If you are unsure of how it will affect you, reach out to an experienced attorney to discuss the details of your alimony case.
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If you are receiving alimony and cohabitating with another person, your ability to receive alimony may be affected. At Barach Law Group LLC, our family law team is backed by more than two decades of combined experience. You can rely on our team for the insightful legal advice you need to navigate your case and obtain the best possible outcome for your circumstances.