DIVORCE AND PERMANENT ALIMONY

Permanent alimony continues indefinitely. The main bases for teasing payments of permanent alimony are the death of the payor, the recipient’s death, or the remarriage of the recipient. The cohabitation of the recipient with a member of the opposite sex also is a common basis for the cessation of permanent alimony. Generally, cohabitation needs to be of a permanent or near-permanent nature, with the parties living together sharing living expenses. A few overnight visits usually do not constitute cohabitation to stop alimony payments. 

Unless an agreement between the parties says otherwise, permanent alimony payments can be adjusted upward or downward based on a change of circumstances. If the recipient gains employment at a well-paying job or receives a significant amount of money from another source, that might be a basis for reducing alimony payments. If the recipient incurs unexpected medical expenses (that are not covered by insurance), that might be a basis for increasing alimony payments if the spouse paying alimony has the ability to pay more. 

A drop in income by the payor, including at retirement, can be a basis for reducing alimony. Courts may examine the reason for a drop in income, and if the drop in income of the payor is in good faith or not through the fault of the payor, the court is more likely to approve a reduction in alimony. If the drop in income seems to have been engineered by the payor to create a basis for reducing alimony, the court is more likely to disapprove of a reduction in alimony. 

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