Cohabitation or a supportive relationship can affect alimony

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In Florida, alimony is awarded solely on the judge’s discretion; however, there are many factors that play into a judge’s decision. There are four different kinds of alimony that Florida judges may award, according to the state’s statute 61.08. Those include bridge-the-gap, durational, rehabilitative and permanent.

If you’re paying alimony, you may feel frustrated if your ex-spouse is living with someone else. This is especially true if your ex tells you that he or she won’t be getting remarried because the alimony would be discontinued. However, did you know that the law in Florida provides for a termination or lowering of alimony payments if the person receiving them is in a supportive relationship?

There are many things that factor into this, such as whether your ex is living with another as a perceived married couple. This might include sharing the same address, referring to one another as “my husband” or “my wife,” or using the same last name. The length of time that your ex has been living with his or her new partner is also important.

It’s up to the person paying alimony to prove to the court “by greater weight of the evidence that a supportive relationship exists.” An appellate court in Florida has held that if a supportive relationship is established, alimony payments must be eliminated or reduced.

While you may not relish the idea of trying to prove that your ex is in a supportive relationship, the idea of paying less in alimony will likely make the prospect of the task at hand a bit easier. It might be wise to speak with an attorney about your current situation in order to ensure that you have covered all your bases before heading into court.

Source: Naples News, “It’s The Law: Supportive relationship can terminate alimony” William Morris, Jan. 28, 2014