Living with another partner before a divorce is finalized is not recommended; however, every situation is different. For those wishing to cohabitate before a divorce is completed, they should reconsider if children are involved, if they share property, or if there is potential alimony.
How Could My Children be Affected?
A parent who has children could hurt their chance of getting primary or equal child custody if they are living with a new partner in the early stages of the divorce. The court could view cohabitation as negative, especially if that other person has issues with alcohol, drugs, or prior problems with domestic violence.
A soon-to-be ex-spouse might claim that they are fine with their ex-partner moving in with someone else, but this does not mean that they should cohabitate. It might be hard to live as a single parent, but waiting until the divorce is finalized could avoid a prolonged custody battle.
Will Cohabitation Affect My Property Division Ruling?
Some states recognize no-fault divorces, meaning that one spouse cannot assert that the other is at fault for the impending divorce. In Pennsylvania, no-fault and fault divorces are both acceptable. Although each state has different guidelines, some grounds for a fault divorce are drug addiction, fraud, physical or mental abuse or cruelty, and adultery.
A judge may also look at what happened throughout the marriage as well as what happened after the couple stopped living together. Living with another person before the divorce is completed will not be viewed as adultery. Nevertheless, a judge could conclude that the spouse who is living with a new partner is sharing and depleting marital property. The spouse who is cohabitating might have to reimburse the other partner.
How will Alimony be Affected?
Alimony might also be affected, depending on the state. Alimony is normally terminated when one spouse passes away, remarries, or is cohabitating with a new partner. In Pennsylvania, court-ordered alimony awards will terminate if the party receiving the alimony moves in with someone who is not a close relative. Additionally, alimony will likely be affected if the person shares finances or assets with the person they are living with or if they have a romantic relationship. This all needs to be proven by the person who is paying the alimony, and the law applies to temporary and permanent alimony awards.
It can be tempting to move in with a new partner before a divorce is finalized for companionship or financial reasons, but it is not recommended in most cases. Cohabitating with a new partner can affect child custody, property division, and alimony payments.
Delaware County Family Law Attorneys at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Advise Clients on Divorce-Related Issues
Cohabiting with a new partner before a divorce is finalized can impact the outcome. If you have questions about an impending divorce, reach out to a skilled Delaware County family law attorney at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello. Call us at (610) 892-4940 or complete our online form for a free consultation today. Located in Media, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster, Montgomery County, Norristown, Philadelphia, Reading, and West Chester, Pennsylvania.