Same-Sex Relationships and the Definition of Cohabitation

December 10th, 2015 by JBWK

Submitted by Berkley Foltz

Virginia began issuing same-sex marriage licenses in October 2014. Now, for the first time since that date, the Supreme Court of Virginia will hear a case in which an ex-husband is arguing that he should no longer be required to pay spousal support under their property settlement agreement because his ex-wife is cohabitating with another woman.

The Court of Appeals ruled that the ex-husband is still responsible for spousal support because the term “cohabitation” as used in their property settlement agreement and in the Code of Virginia does not apply to same-sex couples.

The court reasoned that the statute, Va. Code § 20-109, states that spousal support may cease when the receiving spouse begins “cohabitating with another person in a relationship analogous to a marriage” and that cohabitation with someone of the same-sex does not meet this definition. The ex-husband believes that the Court of Appeals erred in their interpretation and will make his argument in front of the Supreme Court of Virginia in 2016.

Luttrell v. Cucco

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