One should know if remarrying changes alimony requirements. Here’s what to know about how remarriage affects alimony in Pennsylvania.

When a spouse remarries, the paying spouse can file a motion to terminate their requirement to pay alimony payments, as the other party can receive support from their new partner.

Related: Pennsylvania Divorce Laws: The Basics

If a Spouse Remarries, Does Alimony Terminate?

Alimony in Pennsylvania automatically terminates upon either spouse’s death or the supported spouse’s remarriage. A paying spouse may file a motion to terminate alimony as soon as they learn of the supported spouse’s remarriage.

If the supported spouse marries months before the paying spouse finds out, a judge can order the remarried spouse to pay back any alimony paid since the date of remarriage.

When a spouse remarries, the paying spouse can file a motion to terminate alimony as soon as possible. A judge can order the alimony to end on the remarriage date. However, if a couple agrees to alimony as a part of their divorce settlement agreement, the agreement must outline whether alimony automatically ends. It is common for divorce agreements to contain language declaring alimony ends automatically when the supported spouse remarries. In the circumstances where the agreement includes no such provision, the alimony payments continue according to the divorce agreement.

What is Cohabitation? How Does it Affect Alimony?

In Pennsylvania, “cohabitation” means two people living together in a romantic relationship, similar to husband and wife. Having a boyfriend or girlfriend who occasionally stays over does not qualify as cohabitation.

If a supported spouse begins cohabitating with a person of the opposite sex who is not a relative, they can no longer receive alimony. Although same-sex marriage has been legal in the United States since 2015, unmarried same-sex partners do not have the same rights, benefits, or obligations as married couples in Pennsylvania. Same-sex couples can only qualify for these rights if they register in a domestic partnership or civil union. This particular statute has not changed to reflect that a same-sex partnership would qualify for cohabitation purposes.

Courts are more likely to determine whether two people are cohabiting if they share the same residence full-time, have a romantic or sexual relationship, and share finances similar to a married couple. If a party occasionally spends the night with someone else and the relationship is platonic, the court will likely decline to terminate alimony.

If you’re paying alimony and believe your ex-spouse is cohabiting with a partner, you should try to gather witnesses and evidence, like photographs, to help prove the cohabitation. You will need to file a motion to terminate alimony with your county court clerk’s office. If the court agrees your ex-spouse is cohabitating, the judge can terminate alimony retroactively to the date you filed your motion.

Related: Pennsylvania Divorce FAQs

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