Originally Posted by Delilah P
Gosh, this comes up all the time. I've got a case right now where this is an issue.
In California cohabitation with a person of the opposite sex is a basis to terminate support or to reduce it. But it is not an automatic reduction or termination. There is only a presumption of reduced need
in such cases- and the cohabiting parties don't have to hold themselves out as husband and wife for the presumption to apply (Family Code Section 4323). There must also be some kind of romantic relationship going on, and not involve just a couple of folks who are friends sharing a dwelling.
I think cohabitation alone constitutes a change of circumstances justifying a modification of support (although the statute seems a little ambiguous in this respect suggesting there should be some other additional change of circumstances for modification).
As a practical matter these cases are really hard to prove. People lie all the time about either the nature of the relationship or their living together or both. So watch out. Check the disso decree also because if it says cohabitation won't matter while support is payable then the statute doesn't apply (I've never seen any such language in any disso decree by the way).
The simple answer to your question of whether the ex can live with his girlfriend and still collect the spousal support is yes, of course. But the good news is the ex-wife/support obligor can seek a modification or termination of the support because of the cohabitation; but it can be an uphill battle. Like I said, it's not an automatic termination as applies in a remarriage.