Unless otherwise specified, spousal maintenance lasts until one party dies or the dependent spouse remarries. Sometimes, the dependent spouse--typically the wife--will cohabitate with someone rather than marrying him, simply to preserve spousal mantenance. The 2010 case of Chopin v. Chopin illustrates the difficulty this poses.
The parties had specified in their spousal maintenance agreement that spousal support would terminate immediately upon the wife’s remarriage or "romantic cohabitation." But what did that phrase mean? The Court of Appeals decided that it meant living together and behaving as a married couple. Although the ex-wife and her fiancé were formally engaged, they each maintained separate residences and never lived together, and because they were not living together, the Court of Appeals found they were not “romantically cohabitating,” within meaning of the spousal maintenance agreement. Further, the Court of Appeals concluded that the ex-wife’s fiancé spent one out of every six days at ex-wife’s house, he did not keep clothing at her house and, at best, he was a guest at her house about once a week. Therefore, the Court held that the trial court erred in terminating the ex-wife’s spousal maintenance.
Obviously, if you are facing divorce, spousal maintenance,
child support, or
child custody issues in the Phoenix metro area, you need an aggressive
Phoenix divorce lawyer fighting for you.
Contact us right away for a free consultation.