Alicia Silverstone shot to fame in the early 90s as the “Aerosmith Chick,” starring in three Aerosmith videos that cemented both Silverstone and the rock group as household names. Earlier this month, she finalized her divorce, and she included a clause in her settlement agreement that proves, like her most famous role, that she is far from “Clueless.”
Silverstone and ex-husband Chris Jarecki share a commitment to animal rights, but despite their shared love of vegan cuisine, the couple recently divorced after thirteen years of marriage. The couple’s settlement agreement includes a “cohabitation” clause. According to TMZ, Silverstone is paying Jarecki $12,000 each month in spousal support, but if Jarecki lives with someone for five months within any one-year period, spousal support will terminate. California law provides that spousal support automatically terminates upon remarriage absent a different agreement of the parties (Family Code Section 4337), but cohabitation merely triggers the ability of the paying spouse to modify or terminate support.
Family Code Section 4323(a)(1) requires that when considering a modification of spousal support, the supported party’s nonmarital cohabitation is a presumptive material change of circumstances that may merit a change in a spousal support obligation; this is “because sharing a household gives rise to economies of scale . . . [and], more importantly, the cohabitant’s income may be available to the obligee spouse.” Marriage of Bower (2002) 96 CA4th 893, 899. Nonetheless, the actual income of a supporting spouse’s subsequent spouse or nonmarital partner shall not be considered when determining or modifying spousal support by using it as a stand-in for the supported party’s income. Family Code Section 4323(b).
Further, the supporting spouse’s request for a reduction or termination of spousal support, when it has been proven that the supported spouse is cohabitating, should be granted unless there is language in the parties’ Marital Settlement Agreement or another written agreement to the contrary; or if the obligee is able to prove that the cohabitation has not changed his or her need for support. See Marriage of Tong and Samson (2011) 197 CA4th 23, 29. Silverstone’s agreement bypasses any argument Jarecki can make that cohabitation doesn’t change his need for support.
When thinking about paying her ex-husband spousal support while he lives with someone else, Silverstone may have been channeling her most famous character, “Cher,” and thinking “As if!”
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