As well as all the emotional implications of new relationships after the end of a marriage, unfortunately many people have to take financial considerations into account also. If you are receiving maintenance payments from your ex-spouse, these could end when you decide to take the big step of moving in with a new partner, making it an even bigger step.
The law is still very unclear surrounding at what point people are considered to be cohabiting. There are some guidelines which judges will use which include:
- The parties are living together in the same household;
- The living together involves a sharing of daily tasks and duties;
- There is stability and permanence in the relationship;
- The financial affairs of the couple are indicative of their relationship;
- Their sexual relationship is admitted and on-going;
- There is a close bond between the third party and the spouse’s child;
- There is sufficient evidence that cohabitation existed in the opinion of a reasonable person with normal perceptions.
However, if your ex-spouse suspects that you are now cohabiting then you can reasonably expect that they will file a court order to stop the maintenance payments, as it is now seen that you are financially stable.
This means that any new relationships after your divorce need to be very carefully considered. Moving in with someone is always a big step, but it becomes an even bigger step when you risk losing financial stability. This means that you need to be as sure as you can be that the relationship will be long term, before you start to cohabit.
You should also do everything in your power to avoid it looking like you are cohabiting, before you do commit. Keep as much as your lives as separate as possible in terms of the practicalities of where you keep your possessions and how you organise your finances and maintain the two addresses.
As the laws around cohabiting are still quite unclear and changing all the time make sure you get a good family lawyer who can advise you on the likely outcomes of any actions. This way you can prepare yourself emotionally and financially from any requests from your ex.