Alimony: Different States, Different Rules- Part 3


Alimony is a part of many divorces. As New Jersey recently passed legislation limiting the duration of alimony payments, I got curious as to what was done in other states. And so began my research…. This is the third part of this series.

Cohabitation and its effect on Alimony

States have different rules on cohabitation, if cohabitation is not addressed in the Marital Settlement Agreement. Generally, they can be broken down as follows:
Cohabitation terminates the receipt of spousal support automatically
Cohabitation terminates alimony unless the receiving spouse proves that alimony still needed
Payor must petition court for change in circumstances (i.e. reduced financial need)
Alimony is not affected by cohabitation

Again, of course, check the rules in your state.

Some interesting more specific state guidelines are:

Arkansas has an interesting rule that the receiving spouse must have children with new partner before alimony from the first marriage is terminated.

Maryland – payor must go to court and prove that termination is necessary to avoid a harsh and inequitable result.
Massachusetts – Cohabitation for three months terminates the receipt of spousal support

What states recognize common law marriage?

Alabama Colorado (marriage after 9/1/06)
District of Columbia Georgia (if entered into pre-1/1/97)
Idaho (if entered into pre-1/1/96) Indiana (if entered into pre-1/1/58)
Kansas Montana
New Hampshire (for inheritance purposes only)
New Mexico Ohio (if entered into pre-10/10/91)
Oklahoma* Pennsylvania (if entered into pre-1/1/05)
Rhode Island South Carolina
Texas Utah

*if entered into pre-11/1/98 they are recognized. There is controversy over those thereafter.

In what states is fault considered?

Alabama-Arkansas- Connecticut- Delaware -DC-Florida*- Georgia*- Idaho
Louisiana- Maryland -Michigan*- Missouri*-Nevada- New Hampshire*- New York- North Carolina
North Dakota*- Ohio- Pennsylvania- Rhode Island- South Carolina- South Dakota*- Tennessee- Texas
Vermont- Virginia- West Virginia

* For purposes of equitable distribution or support
What states have no fault divorce with no separation requirement?

What states have no fault divorce with a separation requirement… and what is the time period?

You may also revisit Part 1 & Part 2 of this article.
Note: This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information is intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. The information offered only for general informational and educational purposes. They are not offered as and do not constitute legal advice or legal opinions. You should not act or rely on any information contained herein without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

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About Stacey Udell

Stacey Udell, CPA/ABV/CFF, CVA is a partner in the public accounting firm of Gold Gerstein Group LLC. Ms. Udell specializes in business valuation, forensic accounting, economic damages, and litigation support for a wide range of businesses and professional practices for purposes such as estate and gift tax planning and compliance, divorce, business succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, shareholder litigation, and bankruptcy proceedings.

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