The case of Sullivan v. Sullivan, Del. Supr. No. 258, 2014, April 21, 2015, raised multiple issues on appeal. Of particular interest was Mr. Sullivan’s request to receive credit for alimony payments made after Ms. Sullivan began cohabiting with her boyfriend.
Ms. Sullivan filed a motion for interim alimony in February 2012. By order dated March 2012 Mr. Sullivan was required to pay monthly interim alimony payments commencing in April 2012. In October 2012 Mr. Sullivan filed a motion to terminate this obligation alleging that Ms. Sullivan was cohabiting with her boyfriend. In fact, he alleged that Ms. Sullivan began cohabiting before she filed the motion for interim relief.
The Family Court conducted a trial on Mr. Sullivan’s allegations and the issue of alimony. In its decision, which issued on December 20, 2013, the Family Court concluded the evidence was “overwhelming that [Ms. Sullivan] began cohabiting . . . during the summer and fall of 2012.” Id. at 8. Despite that finding, the Court terminated alimony as of November 2, 2012, concluding that “the evidence clearly show[ed] that [Ms. Sullivan] was cohabiting by this point in time.” Id. at 9. Mr. Sullivan appealed the decision challenging the termination date and the amount of credit due to him.
The Delaware Supreme Court agreed with Mr. Sullivan’s challenge and concluded that he “is entitled to credit for any alimony paid after [Ms. Sullivan] began cohabiting.” Id. The case was remanded to the Family Court to determine when during the summer of 2012 the cohabitation began, and to provide credit to Mr. Sullivan for any payments made after that date.
Leslie Spoltore is a Partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP. Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office. You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or firstname.lastname@example.org.