Guess what ladies? If you are receiving spousal support and your boyfriend moves in with you, there is a very good chance that your ex can go to court and have the dollar amount you’re receiving drastically reduced or stopped altogether. So if you are cohabitating in a mutually-exclusive, sexual relationship, just know that it’s a very real possibility.
Which brings me to my own story of when my then-husband hired a private investigator to spy on his ex-wife.
One thing that really got under Rob’s skin was the spousal support he was paying to his ex-wife. When Rob’s youngest daughter decided she would no longer live with us because Rob refused to stop drinking around her and it was obvious that his child support would be increasing, we consulted with an attorney. When that attorney saw what Rob was paying in spousal support, he was gravely concerned. He told Rob that he wouldn’t want to risk going to court to revisit anything because a judge would likely increase her spousal support significantly. He didn’t think that Rob was paying nearly enough to his ex wife as it was. He was sick about the amount of money he was shelling out each month. He thought she should get a better job and stop being such a sponge on him.
Rob kept telling me that the second his ex remarried or started living with someone, he would file to have spousal support stopped.
One day I was at work and I got a phone call from Rob. He was positively giddy. “Guess what?” he said. He could hardly contain himself. “She has a new boyfriend and she moved him into her house!”
“Really? How do you know?” I asked.
His oldest daughter told him. “Whoohooo, baby, I’m filing papers to stop spousal support. Oh yeah!” He was literally whooping and hollering.
So Rob hired an attorney. At one of those meetings, I got a call from the two of them. “We need to hire a private investigator to stake out her house to prove her boyfriend is living with her.”
“No,” I said emphatically. “How much is that going to cost?”
The attorney thought about $2,500. “It will take a year or more to recoup the costs, if a judge cancels support, of the private investigator, attorney fees, and court costs. I say no. Would she really lie about her boyfriend living in her home?”
“Hell yes!” Rob said. “She’ll lie about anything to get my money!”
“I say no,” I repeated. But I was already so completely tired of Rob blaming me for anything and everything that went awry with his kids or ex-wife that I knew better than making that final decision. “But do whatever you need to do.”
And so Rob hired a private investigator and shelled out $2,500 to get photos of the boyfriend taking trash out to the dumpster, opening the garage door, and leaving his car parked outside the home over night.
I went with Rob when it was time for court. And Rob’s spousal support paid to his ex decreased by less than $200 a month. The judge looked at what Rob had been paying and thought it was far too low and that’s why he didn’t decrease it far more. And his ex-wife didn’t utter a single lie about her boyfriend living in her home. As much as Rob portrayed her as Enemy #1 and the main reason he was an alcoholic and screamed and had so much stress in his life, I actually never saw much real proof that she was any of the things Rob portrayed her to be. And here was one more example. Shocker- she didn’t seem to be a liar.
Rob and I were both sick about the ruling, though. We had shelled out close to $5,000 to have spousal support reduced by a paltry $200 per month. It would take two years to break even.
A year later, his ex and her boyfriend moved from her small condo into his large beautiful home with a pool in the back yard. Rob went back to court to try (again) to have his spousal support reduced or cancelled. This time, he represented himself. He was completely unprepared in court and stammered through the whole hearing. It was embarrassing to watch. The judge tossed out his request and spousal support remained unchanged.
Walking out of that courtroom was about as “fun” as I expected it to be. Rob was angry. I said as little as possible so he wouldn’t start screaming at me.
“I’m not doing this again!” he nearly shouted on the sidewalk as we left the courthouse.
“No, you shouldn’t,” I said.
And, true to form, that evening, Rob came home with those glassy eyes and a mint in his mouth, angry and agitated and drunk. And he started screaming at me about something ridiculous again. Another drunken Rob screaming rant. I loathed him. He disgusted me. He sat on the couch watching TV and I couldn’t keep my mouth shut one more second.
So here’s your few take-aways:
1) If you’re living with your boyfriend and you’re getting spousal support, be prepared for the consequences.
2) If you end up getting questioned about your new “roomie,” lying about it is a really bad idea. Honesty, even during divorce, is always best.