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Alimony modification in Georgia – cohabitation

In Georgia, in addition to alimony being subject to modification due to a change in the income and financial status of either former spouse, cohabitation by the payee is also grounds for modification. Georgia law states “the voluntary cohabitation of such former spouse with a third party in a meretricious relationship shall also be grounds to modify provisions made for periodic payments of permanent alimony for the support of a former spouse.” OCGA §19-6-19(b). Cohabitation is specifically defined as “dwelling together continuously and openly in a meretricious relationship with another person, regardless of the sex of the other person.” Id. Thus, for example, if an alimony payee/former wife is cohabitating with a new boyfriend, the payor/former husband may seek to modify and/or eliminate his alimony obligation under this law.

Though this is a fairly black and white rule, it should be noted that if the petitioner is unable to prove his/her case under these grounds, he/she “shall be liable for reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the respondent for defense of the action.” Id. Thus, it is best to make sure your former spouse is actually cohabitating, and that you will be able to prove it, before bringing a modification action under this ground.

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