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Wife is cohabitating in Connecticut. What is proof enough to reduce alimony?

Winsted, CT |

In Connecticut, I have to pay 2000/month alimony for 3 years. I have 22 more months to go. Divorce decree states this will reduce to 1000/month if ex-wife cohabitates. She is sharing an apartment with a man right now.

I am being told that cohabitation is almost impossible to prove in CT because they could just testify that there are roommates only. Ex-wife also states if I try to reduce alimony, she will get attorney to increase it to 3000/month.

One attorney has advised me to leave the situation alone as it will cost more to prove the cohabitation than I will save and the odds are very good she will get the increased alimony. Advice please.

I had a post here...but some new info has transpired. This is what I have. The ex-wife and the man have each posted on their facebook page that they have been in a relationship with each other since 2011. Is this good evidence? Also ex-wife just sent me an email that she is indeed staying at his place. So now do I have enough to make a case? Which attorney here will take my case? Please email me.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. I completely disagree that it's difficult to prove/modify alimony based on cohabitation. Even if it costs you $3,000 in legal fees to get the modification, in three months, it will have paid for itself.

    In order to increase alimony she would have to have a substantial change in circumstances, she can't just ask the court to increase it because you are asking to decrease it.

    Providing answers to questions on AVVO does not create an attorney/client relationship. It is not possible to provide legal advice in the context of question and answers on the internet. The "answers" posted are solely for the purpose of providing general information about legal matters. Consult an attorney licensed to practice in your state or jurisdiction before taking any action. Be advised that what you post on AVVO is not confidential and in a civil law suit may be discoverable.


  2. In Connecticut, C.G.S. 46b-86(b) permits a court to consider suspension, reduction or termination of alimony payments if the alimony recipient is living with someone. The standard is whether the alimony recipient is living with someone and that the living arrangements cause a change in the financial circumstances so as to alter the financial needs of the recipient.

    In your case you would have to show, to the court's satisfaction, that your ex-wife is living with someone and because of that fact, her financial needs have been altered. If the latter is the case, there are several ways to argue that her financial needs have been altered.

    As to whether she can prevail on a motion to increase the alimony, Attorney Silva points out correctly that the general standard for modification is "a significant change of circumstances" (this is a higher burden than you would face in establishing your ex's financial needs have changed). Your ex would need to show a "significant change of circumstances" in order for a court to increase your alimony. As Atty Silva also stated, merely the fact that you sought a reduction in payments is not a valid basis on which to increase your payment. In fact, if that is her sole ground, the court might not look entirely kindly on her motion.

    Brian S. Karpe, Esq. (860) 242-2221 Note: This response DOES NOT constitute legal advice and therefore no specific action should be taken in reliance thereon. No attorney-client relationship is created through this response. You should speak to an licensed attorney in your state who is competent to answer your question before taking any action with regard to this question.


  3. You can base your motion to modify alimony on the cohabitation language in your divorce decree, and/or the Connecticut statute: C.G.S. 46b-86(b) . The term "cohabitation" generally is understood to mean living with another person under circumstances akin to marriage, i.e. with a sexual relationship. The statute, however, does not require proof of a sexual relationship, and refers only to living with another person so that the ex-wife's financial needs have changed. So, under the statute, the "only a roommate" argument would not be successful.

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