Alimony is all about prospects and financial circumstances. When one spouse has greater earning capacity than the other after their separation, alimony becomes part of the divorce agreement. With the increase in equal career opportunities, most couples are more even when separating making alimony a rarer solution than in previous decades. But it still happens and these days, there’s no telling which spouse will wind up paying but by finances alone.
Alimony is Not Forever
If your divorce included an alimony agreement, there were likely terms as to how much the alimony would be. Also how long it would last, and certain circumstances that could end payments if they ever came to pass. Some alimony only lasts as long as it takes to complete the divorce agreements. Most are intended to end when the supported ex reaches a sufficiently successful point in their career. Occasionally, alimony can be theoretically indefinite but there are still mitigating clauses. One nearly universal clause that ends alimony is the issue of remarriage.
Remarriage of the Supported Spouse Ends Alimony Payments
The entire concept of alimony is spousal support. It was initially put in place based on the traditional model of marriage. Designed to ensure that one spouse could not leave the other with no career, prospects, and no way to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Today, that tradition lives on with more circumstantial expectations that are meant to help the supported spouse either reach independence or provide for them if they are unable to build a career after the separation.
However, this is all based on the idea that they need financial support that they don’t have. When an ex receiving alimony remarries, Michigan law defines the couple as a new legal family reliant on the couple’s shared financial means and no longer subject to the circumstances of your previous marriage.
This means that if you are receiving alimony, the payments end on your wedding day to someone new. If you are paying alimony to someone who has a new partner, you can get the courts’ permission to stop paying them when they create a new legally defined household and family unit.
Closing the Co-Habitation Loophole
Of course, not everyone who takes a new life partner decides to legally marry these days. Unwed couples are increasingly common both in younger people and divorcees who find someone new. Weddings are expensive and personal finances are complicated enough. Some people choose not to marry even if they live with them and share everything. However, this has also been used as a loophole so a supported spouse can continue receiving alimony payments even though they have begun sleeping, living, and sharing finances with someone new.
Fortunately, Michigan law has taken this loophole into account. Cohabitation can, in some circumstances, also be grounds for canceling alimony obligations. Simply living with another adult is not grounds for alimony cancellation. After all, there are many forms of cohabitation that are not romantic or do not change financial circumstances. However, if the supported ex blends their finances or begins receiving significant financial support from a new lover, there are strong grounds for their supporting ex to file with the court and stop their alimony payments.
Stopping Alimony When the Time is Right
When someone who has been receiving alimony blends their life, love, and finances with someone new, they are clearly stating that they are no longer the dependent ex of their previous spouse. They are an independent adult with a new partner and a new family unit.
If you are the supported ex and have recently remarried or all-but-remarried, the best way to avoid conflict is to contact a family law attorney to cancel your alimony payments. This can help you make a clean break and start your life fresh and guilt-free with your new partner.
If you have been paying alimony to an ex who has recently blended their life with a new romantic partner and they haven’t made the first move, don’t assume this is manipulative. It takes thought, time, and effort to go to court and make the change. You can protect yourself and do what your ex hasn’t by speaking to a family law attorney.