Am I in violation of my the no co-habitation clause in my divorce decree if I have a female roommate and our relationship is purely platonic?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Am I in violation of my the no co-habitation clause in my divorce decree if I have a female roommate and our relationship is purely platonic?

Our divorce was final 10/21. My ex would not agree to anything unless it

was stated no paramour, romantic relationship, around children for period of 6 months as of 10/21. I felt I was pressured to agree in order to move on

with my life. Anyway, I lived with my parent and at 42 wanted to be out on my own, however with child support was it was set to be $1200. I need to find a roommate. I have many friends and found 1 of my friend’s sisters was a single mom looking to do the same. After we met a few times and allowed our kids to meet, we felt that it would work and rented an apartment together; we are both on the lease. We moved in together 2 days about 3 1/2 months ago. Immediately my ex started screaming that I was breaking the decree but I ignored her threats. I told her numerous times that my roommate is not my girlfriend, etc. She quieted down and over the next few months, my kids came over no problem and interacted with her and her son. Everyone has become very comfortable with one another. I can honestly say she is my best friend, she is super cool and is awesome with my kids. On 02/27 my ex filed I am in contempt of the decree. What leg do I have to stand on? My decree does not say I cannot have a female friend or a female roommate. There is no lewd behavior going on. I feel like all I can do is go into court and say after nearly 4 months with less than 2 months to go, now all of a sudden you have a problem? Will the Magistrate see it that way or is it just me?

Asked on March 5, 2017 under Family Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It depends on two things: 1) is it clear that the decree only applies to a provable romantic relationship, or is it written in such a way that any cohabitations with the opposite gender is barred? If the latter, you are in violation; if the former, then the second question becomes applicable: 2) how credible or believable would you and your roomate be in court--that is, could you convince the judge that no, you are not romantically involved? A court would have to decide whether or not you are violating the decree; this will be based on an evaluation of your (and her--you would need her to testify, too) credibility.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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