Monday, April 16, 2012

Cohabitation = Marriage-Like Relationship Not Merely Sex + Same Roof

Myers v. Myers, 2011 UT 65, Utah Supreme Court October 21, 2011

Husband and Wife were divorced in 2006.  Husband was ordered to pay alimony.  For a time Wife resided with her parents.  The trial court found that while living with her parents, Wife engaged in sexual relations with a foster child teenager of Wife’s parents.   The trial court found that this was sufficient to show cohabitation and terminated alimony.  Mother Appealed.  The Court of Appeals reversed finding that cohabitation is more than having sex and sharing a residence, but must be a relationship akin to a marriage.

The Supreme Court granted cert and affirmed the Court of Appeals.  The Supreme Court reached its finding in much the same way as the Court of appeals.   In this case, Mother and foster child shared a home, but it was not their home.  They did not share expenses, nor did they hold themselves out as a married couple.  The relationship was also temporary; there was no sign of permanence.  The Court indicated that the correct question for the trial court to consider is not the sharing of a residence or the existence of a sexual relationship, but whether cohabitation occurred.

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