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Paul v. Paul

Delaware Supreme Court
60 A.3d 1080 (2012)


Joseph Paul’s (plaintiff’s) divorce agreement required him to pay Shannon Paul (defendant) alimony until her “cohabitation” with someone else under the Delaware alimony statute’s definition. After Shannon started a new relationship, Joseph hired a private investigator to watch her house. Over five months, the investigator saw her boyfriend’s car parked there 25 of 37 days, late at night and early the next morning. The investigator saw the boyfriend take out the trash, get the newspaper, feed the cat, use the garage door code, and water the plants. He also had his own key, did yard work, and showed a painter around the house. Joseph petitioned to terminate Shannon’s alimony. Shannon testified that she and her boyfriend had an exclusive relationship and held themselves out as a couple. However, he stayed with her only two to four nights a week and had his own house. She claimed he did not keep any clothes or personal items at her house and could not live with her because he was tidy, and she was not. Her boyfriend testified that he needed his own house to maintain his independence and preserve memories of his late wife. The trial court found that Shannon did not permanently or exclusively reside with her boyfriend, primarily because they had separate houses, and refused to end her alimony. Joseph appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Berger, J.)

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