Remarrying is the most surefire way to put an end to receiving alimony payments, but Florida legislation also provides for the modification or termination of support by establishing a substantial change in circumstances through showing that the ex-spouse receiving alimony has entered into a supportive relationship. Even if a supportive relationship is established, it is still entirely within a Judge’s discretion whether or not the alimony payments will change.
A supportive relationship is defined by Florida Statute and requires that a person is cohabitating with another who they are not related to by blood. The statute goes on to lay out eleven factors that must be considered by the Court in order to determine the extent of the relationship:
(a) To what extent the pair have held themselves out as a married couple
Even in the absence of marriage, a couple may still act as though they are married and support each other.
(b) How long the pair have resided together at a permanent abode
The duration of a cohabitation arrangement may be indicative of financially supporting one another.
(c) To what extent the pair have become financially interdependent
When living together, it is not uncommon for a couple to pool their financial resources and split bills or other household costs. Doing so may be indicative of a change in financial situation and show less dependence on alimony support.
(d) To what extent either of the pair have supported each other in whole or in part
A supportive relationship may go in either direction – evidence of receiving support from another or evidence of supporting another are both valid for determining a supportive relationship.
(e) To what extent the pair have performed valuable services for each other
Household activities, improvements, and services that usually must be paid for can evidence a supportive relationship by reducing the financial costs associated with the completion of those activities.
(f) To what extent the pair have performed valuable service for the other’s company or employer
Financial contributions and services are indicative of a supportive relationship
(g) Whether the pair has worked together to create or enhance anything of value
This is especially applicable to improvements in the home the pair may be sharing.
(h) Whether the pair have jointly contributed to the purchase of real or personal property
Jointly owning property together might evidence a supportive relationship by providing a change in financial need.
(i) Evidence of an express agreement regarding property sharing or support
(j) Evidence of an implied agreement regarding property sharing or support
Express or implied agreements about supporting each other or sharing property for the benefit of either of the pair are very indicative of a supportive relationship.
(k) Whether either of the pair have provided support to the other’s children
Children are expensive and providing support to another’s child when there is no legal obligation to do so may evidence a great deal of financial support.
Each of these points are factors, which means that alone, none of them can establish a supportive relationship in itself and even taken together they still may not be enough. The decision to modify alimony based on any evidence presented will ultimately fall to the judge presiding over the case and how they interpret all facts presented. The decision should come down to an ongoing need for financial support and remember: even when it seems as though alimony should be modified a judge might determine otherwise.
If you have any questions regarding your alimony obligations and whether they may be modified or terminated, the Attorneys at Kendrick Law Group Family Division are equipped with the knowledge and expertise to help you navigate the Family legal system. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Co written by Spenser Nampon, law clerk