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Can a new relationship end your spousal support?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2024 | Spousal Support |

The outcome of your divorce can reshape your financial positioning for years, sometimes even decades to come. That’s why it’s pivotal that you know how to get the most out of your marriage dissolution, particularly through the property division, child support and alimony processes.

However, even if you successfully secure a court order for the support that you need, your former spouse can always petition the court for modification. This can leave you and your children in a tenuous position, unsure of when the financial support that you rely upon will be ripped out from under you.

This can be especially worrisome for those who are receiving alimony but have sparked a new romantic relationship. In this instance, can your former spouse use your relationship to justify a request to reduce or eliminate your spousal support?

How a new relationship can impact alimony

While it’s true that cohabitating with a new love interest can negatively affect your ability to receive ongoing spousal support, Virginia law requires a more detailed showing of the parameters of that relationship before alimony can be terminated. In fact, pursuant to statute, your former spouse will have to show that your new relationship is similar to a marriage if they want to cut you off from your court-ordered support.

So, where’s the line between a new relationship and one that’s analogous to a marriage? When answering this question, the court will look at several factors, including:

  • Whether you’re actually cohabitating with your new partner
  • How long you’ve been in a relationship with your partner
  • Whether you receive any financial support from your partner and, if so, the extent of that financial support
  • The types of activities that you and your partner share together, such as vacations

The court has leeway to consider any evidence that it deems relevant to its determination. Therefore, just about everything is in play here.

What can you do to protect your interests?

Just because you’re in a new relationship doesn’t mean that you’ll be cut off from the support that you’re receiving. However, you’ll want to be careful with the dynamics of your relationship and how it’s portrayed if you want to continue to receive your alimony. So, moving forward, consider doing the following to keep your support intact:

  • Maintain a residence separate from your partner.
  • Keep your own bank account and pay for your own basic necessities.
  • Limit or better yet completely avoid posting on social media about your new relationship.
  • Spend some days and nights apart from your partner each week to break up the perceived continuity and seriousness of the relationship.
  • Limit your partner’s role in your children’s lives so that it doesn’t appear that they’re assuming a parental role.

That said, there may come a point where you want your relationship to become serious. Don’t let your desire to retain alimony prevent you from securing the happiness you deserve. At the same time, though, you don’t want to put your financial support at risk when you don’t have to. It’s a fine line to walk, which is why you might want to discuss the matter with your attorney before moving forward.

Do you have questions about how to handle your alimony case?

If so, then please continue to read our blog to see if you can find the answers you need. If you can’t find everything you’re looking for, then you may need to be more proactive in seeking out the assistance that you need. By doing so, you’ll hopefully be able to protect your financial well-being while still building the life that you want for yourself and your children.

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