Proving Your Ex is Cohabitating
Spousal support and alimony are calculated based on a complex combination of factors including income, age, health, length of marriage, and expenses. These calculations vary from state to state, but the assumption is usually that the spouse receiving support from the ex (and statistically, it’s usually the wife) does not have another adult partner helping to provide financial support.
But what if you suspect your ex-wife is living with someone and getting help paying the bills? This doesn’t have to be a romantic relationship. The issue is primarily whether or not she’s getting financial help. If that’s the case, your support or alimony would likely be reduced or terminated. So how can you prove it?
1. Surveillance: This can be done by you or by a private investigator. A private investigator may be pricey, but you will avoid the possibility of being accused of stalking or harassment. In addition, a private eye can testify in court. One thing to look for is car activity. Is your ex-spouse’s car at another address overnight on a regular basis, or is someone else’s car at her house overnight frequently? Get pictures of the car there late at night and still there early the next morning. Getting pictures of your spouse or the other person coming or going is also helpful.
2. Look for evidence: You’ll want to interview neighbors and friends. Ask questions that may lead to information about the living arrangements or recent behavior of your ex. You should also watch social media. Are there lots of posts that mention a significant other? Images of them together? Take screenshots.
3. Get subpoenas: Cell tower location data will tell you where your spouse has been. Records from the landlord, utility companies, and banks that hold loans or the mortgage can help determine who’s writing the checks. A records request from local law enforcement can tell you who has listed that address as their address. It will also tell you if there’s been any police activity there.
This information may be particularly valuable if children are involved. Cohabitation may affect child custody arrangements, especially if any police activity has taken place at the residence where your spouse lives.
Again, rules change from state to state, and some require remarriage to terminate alimony. Look into the rules of your state on this matter, and if necessary, take some of the steps listed above to find out once and for all if your spouse is getting significant financial help.