Proof of Cohabitation

Surveillance

After a long and complex divorce our client was suspicious that his ex-wife was living with her new partner whilst still receiving maintenance payments on the basis that she was unable to financially support herself. The client first had these suspicions when their child mentioned mom’s new boyfriend and the places they’ve been together, along with presents he’s been getting. The issue here wasn’t one of jealousy, our client had moved on and took pride in being a good father irrespective of the breakdown in relationship with her ex-partner. The issue here was in relation to the maintenance payments, despite never working she had become accustomed to the lifestyle he had provided and still felt entitled to the money that funded that lifestyle.

 

The client wanted to ensure this wasn’t a fly by partner, but instead a new solid relationship. With similar cases relating to cohabitation it is imperative that any surveillance completed shows multiple stays and the interactions with the other residents. For example, a man leaving the home one morning alone may simply be a one off, we’ve all had visitors stay over after all. In this case however it was apparent that this was not a fly-by boyfriend, but a more long-term relationship.

 

During the initial stages of surveillance our investigators focussed on early morning observations at the ex-wifes property, experience in similar cases shows that this is the most effective way of establishing who is staying at a property.  Upon arrival they noted her vehicle on the drive, blocking in a top of the range 4X4 with last years registration. After a short time, she was seen leaving the front door and entering her vehicle, she moved it a short distance onto the street before returning inside. Before long an unknown male, presumed to be the subjects new partner left the front door in a full suit, clutching a laptop bag that he placed into the 4X4 on the drive. He shortly returned to the front door to get a kiss and a lunch box and then left to travel to work.

 

Further surveillance showed that same male and same car at the property over consecutive nights and mornings, with similar activity and occasionally he was observed heading out with the subject and child together. The clients maintenance payments were based on the belief that his ex-wife had sacrificed career progress to stay at home with the children whilst he was at work, the consent order explicitly stated that if she was to cohabit with a new partner for 6 months or longer the payments would cease as the new partner would become the financial provider.

The results of the investigation were displayed in court and evidence of the woman’s cohabitation, combined with the financial position of the new partner were adequate for the judge to amend the maintenance payments. The maintenance payments were drastically reduced and he is still able to support his child’s development, without breaking the bank.

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