Utah Alimony Cohabitation
Cohabitation is defined as two people who are not married but live together. They are often involved in a sexually intimate relationship on a permanent or long-term basis. Cohabitation becomes relevant after the divorce has been finalized. In many cases, a spouse will be required to pay alimony which, in some cases, cost several thousand dollars a month. In Utah alimony cohabitation is a reason alimony can be removed or adjusted. Below are all the reasons alimony can be adjusted.
- Ex-spouse gets re-married
If a person is receiving spousal support and gets married to another person, they may no longer be eligible to receive spousal support payments.
- Death of the ex-spouse
If someone dies, then the ex-spouse is no longer obligated to pay spousal support.
- The ex-spouse starts cohabitating with another person
If someone is receiving alimony and starts cohabituating with another person, they are in jeopardy of losing their alimony monthly payment. This is where a private investigator can be advantageous in helping you prove cohabitation so you can file a petition with the courts to stop the payments. Each state has its own set of laws that govern alimony requirements. For example, the State of Colorado may allow cohabitation and still require alimony payments.
In 1985, the Utah Supreme Court created case law (Haddow v. Haddow) that outlines three factors in proving cohabitation:
- The ex-spouse and new partner share living expenses and clearly demonstrate decision making as a couple
- The ex-spouse and new partner are in an intimate sexual relationship
- The ex-spouse and new partner are living together in the same house
Other factors may include how long the ex-spouse and new partners have been living together, are they involved in co-parenting, and showing that the ex-spouse is now receiving additional financial support from the new partner.
So how can hiring a licensed Utah private investigator to prove cohabitation provide a monetary benefit to your case? Let’s examine the following case study:
Utah Alimony Cohabitation Case Study
A couple gets divorced and the husband is required to pay the ex-spouse $4000 a month in alimony payments for the next 20 years. The husband finds out from his teenage daughter that his ex-spouse has a new man living with her. He also found out that they just bought a new car together and are going on vacation to the Bahamas for a week. The husband decides to hire a private investigator to prove cohabitation so he can file a petition with the court to stop paying Utah alimony cohabitation.
The private investigator conducts an initial surveillance on the ex-spouse home to document who is living there. This would include taking video/photo evidence of everyone coming and going and documenting all vehicles that are parked at the house. The investigator would run all of the license plates to determine who they belong to. The investigator would be able to establish the identity of the man living there which would lead into conducting a full background profile. During a 3-4-week time span, the surveillance will show that the new partners vehicle was parked overnight at the house consistently for 3-4 weeks. It will also show the couple leaving the house to go shopping, eating out, etc and then coming back home to the house together. In this case, the investigator was able to show the couple attending several of their children’s high school events together and other normal daily routines.
The private investigator was able to find several profiles of both the ex-spouse and new partner on social media. The private investigator was able to capture several videos and photos of the couple displaying PDA. Several of the photos were from inside the ex-spouse’s home with the new partner. Many times individuals post pictures and videos without realizing what information they are sharing to the public.
Private Investigators use a variety of methods and resources to conduct background investigations. In this case, a background software would be utilized to identify more information on the new partner living at the spouse’s home. The report would include address history, family and neighbor relationships, phone numbers, social media profiles, criminal history, bankruptcy, and civil judgements. In many cases this basic information will allow the investigator to follow leads, obtain court records, etc. to establish a comprehensive profile on the subject. This information can be leveraged in court that proves the identity of the individual cohabitating with the ex-spouse.
Many times, people will throw away documents and items that can be used as evidence of cohabitation. In this case, the investigator will determine what day the trash comes at the ex-spouse’s home. As long as the trash is on the street (not on private property) it is considered abandoned (see US Supreme Court case California v. Greenwood). In this case, the investigator was able to find a utility bill in both names (ex-spouse and new partner) which is strong evidence to show cohabitation and sharing of financial bills. The private investigator also found several bills in the new partners name that was mailed directly to the ex-spouses house, showing evidence that he lives there because he is receiving his mail at the home.
The private investigator was able to interview several neighbors who made statements that they were aware that the two individuals were living together. The private Investigator was able to get written statements from a hotel staff member who stated they observed the couple staying together at a hotel overnight and displaying public displays of affection (the hotel stay was observed from surveillance). Witness interviews can provide a lot of credibility to your claim that the couple is truly cohabitating and involved in an intimate relationship.
In this case, the Private Investigator was able to prove cohabitation based on the investigative findings. The surveillance showed consistent days of the new partner living at the home. The background identified who the person was and matched his information to the vehicle he was driving. Several interviews, document observations of PDA and cohabitation. Social media pictures showed PDA and several pictures inside the ex-spouse’s home. Results from the trash run revealed several documents that showed shared utility bills and mail going directly to the new partner at the ex-spouse’s home. These findings were presented to the client’s attorney who filed a motion with the court. The judge ruled in favor of our client and ordered all spousal support payments to stop based on substantiated evidence of cohabitation. The cost to the client was around $4000 which was just one month of alimony payments. In this case, the client was able to receive a substantial monetary savings because he used a private Investigator to collect evidence for cohabitation.
While each case result will be different, having a private investigator conducting an unbiased, independent cohabitation investigation for you will only increase your chances of a successful outcome.