In Virginia, alimony may be terminated if there is clear and convincing evidence that the spouse receiving spousal support (alimony) has been habitually cohabitating with another person in a relationship analogous to a marriage for one year or more, pursuant to Code of Virginia §20-109. This includes the cohabitation of same-sex couples.
Samantha Cucco and Michael Lutrell entered into a Property Settlement Agreement pursuant to which Michael Lutrell paid alimony to Samantha Cucco. Mr. Lutrell sought to terminate his alimony payments to Ms. Cucco when he learned Ms. Cucco had been cohabitating with her fiancé, another woman, for over a year.
Ms. Cucco argued that because her relationship was with another woman, she was not cohabitating pursuant to §20-109. In Luttrell v. Cucco, The lower court agreed with Ms. Cucco, stating that “cohabiting in a relationship analogous to marriage” does not include cohabitation by same-sex couples, and the Virginia Court of Appeals agreed. The Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeals erred when it concluded that same sex couples cannot cohabit for purposes of §20-109 and the case was remanded back to the lower court.
If you are seeking to modify alimony based on your spouse's cohabitation with another person, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney. Contact Hess Family Law to discuss your particular situation and goals.