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For more than 45 years, New Jersey courts recognized that a recipient’s cohabitation impacts alimony. See Garlinger v. Garlinger, 129 N.J. Super. 47 (Ch. Div. 1974); Grossman v. Grossman, 128 N.J. Super. 193 (Ch. Div. 1974). The Appellate Division reconciled the divergent approaches taken by the trial judges in these two cases, accepting that cohabitation could result in modification of alimony. Garlinger v. Garlinger, 137 N.J. Super. 56 (App. Div. 1975). See also Wertlake v. Wertlake, 137 N.J. Super. 476 (App. Div. 1975); Eames v. Eames, 153 N.J. Super. 99 (Ch. Div. 1976).

The New Jersey Supreme Court included cohabitation as a judicially recognized change of circumstances warranting review of an alimony award in Lepis v. Lepis, 83 N.J. 139, 145, 151 (1980). Next, the court squarely addressed the issue in Gayet v. Gayet, 92 N.J. 149 (1983), which held cohabitation by divorced spouse constitutes changed circumstances justifying discovery and hearing, but the test for modification of alimony remained whether the relationship reduced the financial needs of dependent former spouse. See also Konzelman v. Konzelman, 158 N.J. 185 (1999) (enforcing marital settlement agreement terminating alimony upon proof of former spouse’s cohabitation). See also Quinn v. Quinn, 225 N.J. 34 (2016).

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