I am a divorced male living in NJ. I currently pay alimony and child support to my ex wife. I met a nice woman, a widow, and we've been dating more than a year. I rent a small apartment and she has a house. We are starting to talk about me moving in with her. I plan to contribute my share of the expenses but I think I need to make certain that what I pay in my new living arrangement is equal to what I currently pay out in my apartment rental otherwise I fear that my ex-wife will seek an alimony increase. Do I need a cohabitation agreement to detail what I pay if I move in with my girlfriend to prevent my ex-wife from gaining more alimony? Should I write my girlfriend a check each month or would she have to then declare that as income? I'm not certain how to move forward.
The key is the wording of the property settlement agreement.Usually if the recipient of alimony moves in with another or marries,alimony ends. As for the person paying, this is usually not spelt out. I would discuss your situation with a family law attorney. Your ex might claim that since you no longer pay rent, that there is more $ available to pay more $ to her that does not necessarily mean she gets more $. One suggestion is a Lease, with a stated rent, which would fit the requirements of legal proof of your expenses. I do not believe you want an agreement which the ex could subpoena and perhaps use to hurt you. Yes yiour new GF must declare rent as income but she also qualifies for write offs which are not available to a non Landlord. Disucss these options with a professional tax preparer.
You might find my legal guide on selecting and hiring a lawyer helpful.
You might find my legal guide on Is it Legal? Is it Illegal? helpful.
You might find my legal guide on the understanding the different court systems helpful.
You might find my legal guide on legal terms used in litigation helpful.
(Even if you are not filing a lawsuit this information can be useful).
You might find my legal guide on landlord/tenant regulations in general and in NJ helpful.
You might find my legal guide on landlord/tenant litigation helpful.
You might find my legal guide on Estate Litigation (with a will) helpful.
You might find my legal guide on Estate litigation (without a will) helpful.
You might find Gabriel Cheong’s legal guide on the do and don’t of finances after a divorce helpful.
You might find my legal guide on divorce in general and in NJ helpful.
(Much of this information is valid for unmarrieds who have children together).
Mr. Sarno is licensed to practice law in NJ and NY. His response here is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Many times the questioner may leave out details which would make the reply unsuitable. Mr. Sarno strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their own state to acquire more information.