Alimony can be lost based on cell phone data

For many Massachusetts residents who have come through divorce, the money received by way of alimony payments is vital to one’s ability to move forward in their new lives as single people. In many cases, the partner who receives alimony set aside their own education or career advancement in order to support the family unit. When such a marriage ends in divorce, the courts often recognize those sacrifices through an award of alimony.

However, spouses who rely on receipt of those payments to make ends meet should be aware that there are choices that can put them at risk of losing their alimony. For example, in many divorce agreements there is a stipulation that alimony will cease of the receiving party remarries or begins to cohabitate with another partner. While this may seem like a clearly defined boundary, in reality the issue of cohabitation can come under serious legal scrutiny.

As a new relationship progresses, overnight visits are often the norm. In fact, in the early stages of a new love, many people seek to spend as much time together as possible. For divorced parents who retain custody of their children, spending time with a new partner is often easier in the evening hours, after the children have gone to bed and the house is quiet. However, it is important to consider how one’s lifestyle could come into play if their former spouse chooses to try to stop paying alimony.

One tool that is frequently used in alimony cases involves cell phone location data. This is the electronic tract that our cell phones leave as we move through the world. Accessing this data gives individuals the ability to track our location, as well as the location of others who are also carrying their phones. Should one’s former spouse be able to make use of this technology to suggest that cohabitation is taking place, he or she could bring the matter before a Massachusetts court, leaving the other party to try to prove that the amount of time spent together does not equate living under the same roof.

Source: Huffington Post, “Cohabitation, the Termination of Alimony and Cell Phones,” Diane L. Danois, June 11, 2013

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