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Sunday, July 21, 2024 | Back issues
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Sibling Affair Claim Won’t Undercut Alimony

(CN) - Claiming that a Utah woman had sex with her foster brother will not help her ex-husband duck alimony obligations, the state Supreme Court ruled.

Tracy Lynn and Becky Sue Myers divorced in 2006 after 18 years of marriage. The divorce court ordered Tracy to pay his ex-wife $1,200 a month in alimony.

In a lawsuit to terminate his alimony obligation, Tracy claimed Becky was "cohabiting with another person."

The trial court granted Tracy's request based on evidence that Becky was sleeping in her parents' home, where her foster brother, M.H., also lived.

But an appellate panel overturned the decision, concluding that cohabitation under the statue applies to a "relationship akin to that generally existing between husband and wife" and that Becky's relationship with M.H. "bore little resemblance to a marriage.

Tracy claimed that Becky had a sexual relationship with M.H., but Becky denied the allegation. The Myers' children also submitted affidavits stating that M.H. called Becky his "girlfriend" and that they acted like "boyfriend and girlfriend" in social settings.

On another appeal, the Utah Supreme Court also agreed with Becky.

"The two may have had a sexual relationship, and they may have slept in the same house at the same time," Justice Thomas Lee wrote for the court. "But their relationship lacked any other marker of marriage-like cohabitation."

"There was no error in the court of appeals' conclusion that Ms. Meyers had no burden of disproving sexual contact with M.H.," he added. "The ultimate question in this case was whether Ms. Myers and M.H. were cohabiting, and Mr. Myers bore the burden on that issue."

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