Langley v. Langley: The husband argued the court improperly considered the parties’ first marriage and prior cohabitation while calculating obligation.
By Laura Morgan, Family Law Consultant
The “length of the marriage” criterion prescribed in statutes governing the division of property and alimony, as a matter of law, does not include prior marriages or cohabitation preceding the marriage. The husband argues that the court improperly considered the parties’ first marriage and prior period of cohabitation in the calculation of its financial orders because the court mentioned these periods in its memorandum of decision.
Laura Morgan is a Family Law Consultant. Laura is available for consultation, brief writing and research on family law issues throughout the country. She can be reached through her Web site.
One lesser-known but very important (for some clients) service private investigators perform is “proof of cohabitation” investigations. This is just what it sounds like: our client has a legal need to prove that the subject (usually an ex-spouse) is currently residing with a significant other. Typically, this evidence is needed in conjunction with a divorce, spousal support, or child custody/child support case. It might be that our client’s ex is believed to be living at the new partner’s home or vice-versa. Either way, solid proof is required.
When writing a cohabitation agreement, most attorneys look to a pre-nuptial agreement as a model, since, even today, pre-nuptial agreements are far more common than cohabitation agreements. While it is true that there are many similarities between these two, it is also true that there are differences that could be fatal to the unwary practitioner.