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Possibly reduce or end alimony when an ex finds someone new

Florida law allows those who have been ordered to pay alimony to petition the state for spousal support modification or even termination of alimony when their former spouses move in with other people, as long as it can be proven that their exes have entered into “supportive relationships.” The 2015 Florida Statutes provides that a supportive relationship may be alleged to exist when former spouses reside with people to whom they are not related by blood or marriage. The statute defines certain circumstances the courts will use to determine the nature of the relationship when considering modifying or ending alimony.

One consideration is whether alimony recipients have represented themselves in public as being married to anyone they’re living with. This involves engaging in behavior that implies they are dependent on the other person and that the relationship with that person is a permanent one. Such behaviors may include the sharing of a mailing address, living in the same residence, using the same last name or speaking in a way that identifies the other person as a husband or wife.

The amount of financial interdependence exhibited by alimony recipients and the people with whom they are living will be scrutinized. The courts will seek to determine the following:

  •          How much they’ve supported each other
  •          How much their assets or income have been comingled
  •          Whether they’ve been taking care of each other’s kids, even if ordered to by a court
  •          If valuable assets have been improved or made by both of them
  •          Real estate or other property has been purchased together
  •          Work relating to the other partner’s company has been completed or one person did something else for the other person that would be considered a valuable service

Additionally, if the couple has an implied or written agreement regarding their intent to support one another or share property, any evidence regarding that agreement may be considered by the courts.

Legislation was recently approved changing how supportive relationships would be evaluated. If signed into law, it will do away with the requirement that exes live with other people. Additionally, just referring to someone as a spouse could also be used to qualify the relationship as a supportive one. On the other hand, courts could also take nonpayment of alimony into account as a reason a supportive relationship formed in the first place.

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Mercedes R. Wechsler, P.A.
1212 E. Ridgewood Street
Orlando, FL 32803

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