Cellphone data could prove cohabitation

On behalf of The Walters Law Group, Ltd. posted in Divorce on Friday, February 7, 2014.

Illinois residents may be interested in how to prove that their former spouse is cohabiting with a new partner. In most divorces, the payment of alimony is dependent on the receiving spouse remaining single. Therefore, spouses who receive alimony are reluctant to disclose a cohabiting relationship because it could bring an end to the spousal support. Paying spouses, on the other hand, would often prefer for a cohabiting relationship to be disclosed as early as possible.

Proving that a former spouse has entered into a new relationship is not always easy. While it may seem clear from inferential evidence that a former spouse is cohabiting with a new partner, this is rarely sufficient to obtain a modification to alimony payments in family law court. To prove cohabitation, a private investigator could document months of activity at the residence, but this can often be an expensive proposition.

One alternative is an examination of the cellphone records of the former spouse and the new partner. The data from a cell tower will show where someone spent the night and how much time they spent in a certain location, and it could be a cost-efficient and reliable way to track activity for months or even years.

One purpose of alimony is to compensate a spouse who gave up career opportunities to stay at home and tend to household and parental duties, taking into account reduced financial circumstances after a divorce. However, if the new relationship carries with it a commingling of income with the new partner, such as maintaining joint bank accounts, then a modification or termination of the spousal support order may be warranted.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Using a Cell Phone to Show That Your Former Spouse Is Cohabiting“, Diane L. Danois, J.D., January 24, 2014