Woman who lived with male tenant wasn’t ‘cohabiting’

Many divorce agreements say that a spouse can stop paying alimony if the other spouse begins “cohabiting” with someone of the opposite sex who financially supports them.

A colorful case in Florida involved a divorced woman who owned a two-bedroom townhouse. To help make ends meet, she took on a male tenant who paid her $400/month in rent.

The woman and the tenant lived separate lives, slept in separate rooms, dated other people, ate separately and were never intimate with one another. Nevertheless, the woman’s former husband claimed he should be able to stop paying alimony because the woman was literally living with a man who provided her with financial support.

A judge actually agreed with the ex-husband, but an appeals court took a different view. It said “cohabitation” means a romantic relationship – not merely a landlord-tenant relationship.