In the Matter of Judith Raybeck and Bruce RaybeckAnnotate this Case
Respondent Bruce Raybeck appealed a ruling that he was required to continue paying alimony to Petitioner Judith Raybeck. The parties divorced in 2005 after a forty-two year marriage. The divorce decree obligated Respondent to pay Petitioner alimony for ten years, in yearly installments, but would cease should she "cohabitate[...] with an unrelated adult male." Approximately three months before the January 2010 alimony payment was due, Petitioner moved out of her Laconia house and rented it to reduce her expenses. She moved into the upper level of a single family home in Plymouth owned by Paul Sansoucie, a man she had met through an online dating service. Sansoucie lived on the lower level and did not charge Petitioner for rent. She did, however, pay about $300 per month for food and often cooked for him. They also shared living space on the middle level of the house. When the respondent learned that the petitioner lived with another man, he stopped paying alimony. In response, Petitioner asked the family division to enforce the alimony agreement and require the respondent to resume his support payments. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court: "important is the extent of the personal relationship, including evidence of an intimate connection, how the people hold themselves out to others. . . Here too, the age of the couple may be relevant in weighing this factor; for older people, a sexual component to intimacy may not be as significant as it would be for younger couples. In addition, the shared use and enjoyment of personal property is an indication of cohabitation, such as common use of household rooms, appliances, furniture, vehicles, and whether one person maintains personal items, such as toiletries or clothing, at the residence of the other." Because the trial court did not have the benefit of the standard the Court articulated here for determining whether the relationship between Petitioner and Sansoucie amounted to cohabitation, it vacated and remanded the case for further proceedings.