DeMaria v. DeMaria
In DeMaria v. DeMaria, 247 Conn. 715, 724 A.2d 1088 (1999), the Court addressed the issue raised in this case, namely, the burden of proof on a party seeking to have an alimony award modified on the basis of cohabitation.
In reviewing the applicable statute, our Supreme Court stated: "Section 46b-86 (b) was an express grant of authority to modify or terminate alimony 'upon [a] showing that the receiving party is living with another person and that such living arrangements result in a change of circumstances that alter the financial needs of such party.' 20 S. Proc., Pt. 7, 1977 Sess., p. 2793, remarks of Senator Salvatore DePiano." DeMaria v. DeMaria, supra, 247 Conn. at 722.
In accordance with General Statutes 46b-86(b) and the holding in DeMaria, before the payment of alimony can be modified or terminated, two requirements must be established. First, it must be shown that the party receiving the alimony is cohabitating with another individual. If it is proven that there is cohabitation, the party seeking to alter the terms of the alimony payments must then establish that the recipient's financial needs have been altered as a result of the cohabitation. "Because, however 'living with another' person without financial benefit did not establish sufficient reason to refashion an award of alimony under General Statutes 46b-81, the legislature imposed the additional requirement that the party making alimony payments prove that the living arrangement has resulted in a change in circumstances that alters the financial needs of the alimony recipient. Therefore, this additional requirement, in effect, serves as a limitation. Pursuant to 46b-86 (b), the nonmarital union must be one with attendant financial consequences before the trial court may alter an award of alimony." DeMaria v. DeMaria, supra, 247 Conn. at 720.