The modification of alimony as a result of cohabitation and the entry into a supportive relationship was recently addressed as part of the Florida Alimony Reform Legislation that was introduced in the 2015 session of the Florida House of Representatives.
Under the proposed legislation, the court may reduce alimony or terminate alimony when: (i) a supportive relationship exists or has existed after the entry of the final judgment of divorce and (ii) a supportive relationship exists or has existed in the year preceding the filing of the request for the modification of alimony or termination of support.
The trial court is directed to utilize the following factors to determine whether cohabitation or the entry into a supportive relationship warrants a modification or termination of alimony: (i) whether the parties have held themselves out as a married couple by using the same last name, using a common mailing address, referring to each other by terms such as my husband or my wife, or otherwise conducting themselves in a manner that evidences a permanent supportive relationship; (ii) the duration of time that the parties have resided together; (iii) whether the parties have pooled their income or assets; (iv) whether one party has supported the other; (v) whether one party has performed valuable services for the other; (vi) whether one party has performed valuable services for the other parties' employer or company; (vii) whether the parties have worked together to create or enhance anything of value; (viii) whether the parties both contributed to the purchase of property; (ix) whether the parties have an express agreement regarding property sharing and support; (x) whether the parties have an implied agreement regarding property sharing and support; (xi) whether the parties have provided support to each other's children; (xii) whether the paying spouse failed to complied with his/her court ordered obligations and whether this failure was a significant factor in the establishment of the supportive relationship; and (xiii) the extent to which the recipient spouse provides caretaking to a close relative with whom the recipient spouse resides or receives caretaking from a close relative with whom the recipient resides.
The party seeking a modification of alimony or the termination of alimony has the burden of proof to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a supportive relationship exists or has existed. Once a supportive relationship is demonstrated to exist, the burden of proof shifts to the payee to disprove the supportive nature of the relationship. The payor is not required to prove cohabitation of the recipient and a third party.
To speak with a Modification of Alimony attorney in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 651-7273.