Ask A Lawyer: Does A New Live-In Boyfriend Change My Alimony Payments?

Question:

What is the rule for alimony when your ex-spouse’s boyfriend moves in? I’ve talked to a lot of guys about this and there seems to be confusion about the addition of a new live-in boyfriend. Does his income ever make any difference in the amount of maintenance and child support that I’m paying? Does the time that he has lived in the house make a difference? Do I still get right of first refusal when my wife wants to leave the kids with him?

 

 

 

Answer:

The child support and the right of first refusal should not be automatically affected by the status of the boyfriend, absent specific terms in your divorce addressing such circumstances.  While normally not applicable to most situations, if the boyfriend is contributing to the support of your ex, that may constitute a substantial change in her ability to provide more of the support for the children to permit you to seek a reduction in your obligation.  Such a reduction would be unusual.  The right of first refusal is intended to assure that the parents, not step-parents or other caregivers, are given primary responsibility for caring for the children, such that childcare by the boyfriend is not a substitute for your involvement with your children and the right of first refusal should still apply.

Spousal support (alimony), however, is usually affected by cohabitation with someone who is helping to support the ex.  The theory is that if someone else has taken on the responsibility for supporting your ex, you should no longer have to support her.  The impact of the boyfriend upon the spousal support will depend upon the terms of your divorce as to the type of spousal support and the reasons for the spousal support.  The specifics as to when the cohabitation affects spousal support, and when you have to file with the court to end your support, vary by State.  

You should seek an immediate review, before the boyfriend moves out, by qualified legal counsel, such as Cordell & Cordell, as to the impact of the boyfriend’s cohabitation on your divorce terms and the timeframe to file court proceedings.


Richard Coffee is a Litigation Manager in the Belleville Illinois office of Cordell & Cordell. He is an experienced divorce attorney whose practice is devoted to domestic litigation. He is licensed in the State of Illinois and is admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Courts for Northern, Central and Southern Illinois.

Mr. Coffee has extensive domestic litigation trial experience representing clients in courts throughout Illinois on all aspects of domestic litigation, including the representation of clients who are current or retired military personnel with issues under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, clients involved in state court jurisdictional disputes due to the relocation of one or both parties from or to Illinois, and clients with government or private pension benefit valuation and division issues. 

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4 comments on “Ask A Lawyer: Does A New Live-In Boyfriend Change My Alimony Payments?

    I have a question my son and his wife are divorcing he supplies school clothes his school snacks sports fees and etc. And shes been living with her boyfriend for 1 1/2 since separation he pays her $500 a month child support also pays for all the vacation trips for son does he have pay her alimony

    My son lives in N ew York. Does he have to continue to pay alimony when his wife has a live-in boyfriend. He pays child support for his 12 year old son. They have dual custody. The son lives with mother and boyfriend during week. He has another four years to pay her alimony,

    I realize that child support laws vary by state and many states offer discretion to the presiding ruling official (Magistrate), but why wouldn’t an increase in resources aka the boyfriend living there full time not constitute a material change, whereby a termination or reduction is warranted? It makes no sense. Although he is not the parent, he benefits from the child support being paid through shelter, food, basic care etc. that child support is intended to do. Therefore, he either assists with household expenses such as the water bill, phone/tv etc. or he is a freeloader. IN either event, this is cause for a request for modification to be addressed.

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