Thorpe v. Thorpe
Even if a payor spouse proves that the payee spouse is cohabitating, he may be required to continue to pay alimony, if the payee spouse's financial needs remain unchanged. When the parties divorced in 2010, a court ordered the plaintiff husband to pay alimony to the defendant wife until the wife's death, marriage, cohabitation pursuant to C.G.S. 46b-86(b) or Feb. 22, 2015. The parties agreed to modify alimony to $90 per week until Nov. 22, 2013, and then $60 per week until Feb. 22, 2015. The husband moved to modify alimony and argued that the wife had another child with an individual with whom she cohabitates. To prevail, the husband must prove that the wife is cohabitating with a third party and that the living arrangement caused a change of circumstances that changed the wife's financial needs. The wife admitted that she had another child with a third party and denied that she cohabitates, because he only visits twice per week. The husband argued that the third party's motor vehicle remained in the driveway of the wife's residence for 14 days in November 2012. The third party testified that he is not employed and does not contribute, other than contributions to support the minor child, to the wife's rent, utilities or other expenses. The court credited the husband's evidence that the third party resides with the wife and did not credit the wife's testimony that the third party only visits twice per week. The husband failed to prove that the wife's financial needs changed, as a result of cohabitation with a third party. The court denied the husband's motion to modify alimony. The husband also requested attorneys' fees, because the wife informed the husband that she was unable to attend to court appearances, because of medical issues. The wife's medical provider wrote, "due to medical reasons, my patient, Tina Thorpe, will not be attending her scheduled court appearances." The wife testified about medical conditions. The court found that the wife did not appear because of her medical condition. The court denied the husband's motion for counsel fees.