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If i buy a house with someone is this considered a civil union? alimony states that it will stop for a marriage or civil union.

Ridgewood, NJ |

I would like to buy a house with my boyfriend but concerned this could be recognized
as a civil union, my divorce decree states alimony can end with marriage or civil union.

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Attorney answers 5


Check with your divorce lawyer but "civil union" generally means marriage by a judge or a justice of the peace. As opposed to a religious union. But buying a house could mean you are an investor -- nothing to do with stopping alimony.


New Jersey law spells out the criteria for a civil union to be recognized by the state. Merely buying property together or/and cohabiting should not be sufficient to create this status. You should be able to find the information for civil union formation in your state on line; I believe in New Jersey you have to file for one just as you would file for a marriage license, as a civil union is intended to create a status similar to marriage. You can also call the county for information just as you would for finding out what is needed in order to get a marriage license in your county.


You need to review the terms of your Judgment of Divorce/Property Settlement Agreement with an attorney. Cohabitation may be sufficient to terminate alimony.

Good luck.

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That event is not even close to a civil union, so don't worry. By the way, a civil union is between same sex partners or people over the age of 62.

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No - that doesn't constitute a "civil union". You have to specifically file for one, and they're only available for older people or same-sex couples.

But that doesn't sound like the end of the question under your facts. Cohabitation CAN be sufficient to terminate or adjust alimony. If you have a specific provision terminating alimony on cohabitation, it's enforceable. If it's not addressed, the court will apply Gayet v. Gayet (google it) and the payor is probably (not always, but probably) entitled to a reduction of alimony.

The above is said without seeing your case file and without my understanding the entirety of the facts of your case. Depending on those facts, the above information be may incomplete or may be completely inaccurate. The above is intended as general information only based on what you described and not as legal advice. I advise you to consult with counsel who may be able to provide better information commensurate with a better understanding of your situation.

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