If you are under an order to pay alimony and you belive you ex is living with someone, what can you do?     You may have to file a motion to modify or terminate your alimony.

North Carolina Law provides in NCGS § 50-16.9:

(b)        If a dependent spouse who is receiving postseparation support or alimony from a supporting spouse under a judgment or order of a court of this State remarries or engages in cohabitation, the postseparation support or alimony shall terminate. Postseparation support or alimony shall terminate upon the death of either the supporting or the dependent spouse.

As used in this subsection, cohabitation means the act of two adults dwelling together continuously and habitually in a private heterosexual relationship, even if this relationship is not solemnized by marriage, or a private homosexual relationship. Cohabitation is evidenced by the voluntary mutual assumption of those marital rights, duties, and obligations which are usually manifested by married people, and which include, but are not necessarily dependent on, sexual relations. Nothing in this section shall be construed to make lawful conduct which is made unlawful by other statutes.

Proving Cohabitation.

Proving cohabitation in North Carolina requries evidence that the two people are living in a re,ationshp that resembles a traditional marital arrangement. This means more than two people spending time or overnights together.  A few starting points are as follows:

  1. Social media.   Look for photos and updates that indicate cohabitation.  Check out the relationship status of both parties.  Has it changed?  Are there photos of them living together?
  2. Hire a PI: It sounds expensive but the cost may be far lest than your alimony payment.
  3. Listen for Clues:  Don’t examine your children on it, but if they start talking about someone being there all the time, it might be a good sign to go on and hire that private investigator.
  4. Read your order or agreement carefully.   Make sure you didn’t waive any claims about cohabitation.
  5. Hire a lawyer.

Your lawyer can advise you but generally the next step is to file a motion to terminate alimony.  In the litigation, there will be time to dig for additional evidence and facts.


Family law attorney Scott Allen has over twenty-eight years of experience. If you have questions or need assistance, call him at (919) 863-4183 or email him at sallen@allenspence.com.