Utah court: Living with teen isn't cohabitation

October 24, 2011 - 6:00 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Supreme Court ruled Friday that a man must pay alimony even though his ex-wife lived in the same house as a teenage boy with whom she reportedly had a relationship.

The justices said the relationship didn't rise to the level of cohabitation. Further, the justices said even if the relationship was sexual — which the woman, Becky Sue Myers, denied — it still wouldn't be on par with marriage, which is the standard used to disqualify a person from receiving alimony.

Tracy Lynn Myers had asked the courts to cancel his $1,200 monthly alimony requirement after Becky Myers moved into her parent's basement in 2007. The boy was in foster care with Becky Myers' parents at the same time.

A 2nd District judge originally terminated the alimony, but the Utah Appeals Court overturned that ruling because the two people didn't establish a "common household" with shared expenses and responsibilities.

The state Supreme Court upheld that appeals court ruling because Becky Myers and the boy "lived as separate guests with distinct roles in the home of Ms. Myers' parents — Ms. Myers as an adult child sleeping on her parents' couch and M.H. as their teenage foster son living in a bedroom with other foster children."

Court documents show that Becky Sue Myers, who is now 46, "bounced" between homes after the end of her 18-year marriage in 2006. That included the spring and summer of 2007, when she used her parents' house as a home address and slept on a couch in the basement some of the time.

The Myerses' two children said the teenage boy described Becky Myers as his "girlfriend," but there was never proof the relationship included sex.

Becky Myers has denied the two ever had sex, and the boy never testified in court. Although the boy was in high school at the time, the boy's age isn't listed in court documents and no criminal charges have ever been pursued against Becky Myers.

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Josh Loftin can be reached at http://twitter.com/joshloftin.