Modification of Alimony as a result of a party's cohabitation was recently addressed by the Florida Legislature when it passed the Florida Alimony Reform Bill on March 8, 2016. The bill was vetoed by Governor Scott on April 15, 2016.
Under the Florida Alimony Reform Bill, when a party cohabits with another person, the court may terminate or reduce an award of alimony if the court finds that subsequent to the date that the divorce was granted, a supportive relationship exists or has existed during the previous year prior to the filing of the modification petition. A court may terminate or reduce an alimony award as a result of a party's cohabitational relationship. The burden of proof is on the payor.
In determining whether an alimony award should be terminated or reduced because a supportive relationship exists, a court should consider the following circumstances:
(i) whether the payor and the other person have held themselves out as a married couple;
(ii) the period of time that the payor and the other person have lived with each other in a permanent place of residence;
(iii) whether the payee and the other person have pooled their income or assets or otherwise created financial interdependence;
(iv) whether the payee or the other person have wholly or partially supported each other;
(v) whether the payee or the other person performed valuable services for each other;
(vi) whether the payee or the other person performed valuable services for each other's company or employer;
(vii) whether the payee and the other person have created or enhanced anything of value;
(viii) whether the payee and the other person have contributed to the purchase of real or personal property;
(ix) whether the payee and the other person have an express agreement regarding support or property sharing;
(x) whether the payee and the other person have an implied agreement regarding support or property sharing;
(xi) whether the payee and the other person have provided support to each other's children;
(xii) whether the payor's failure to pay alimony or child support was a significant factor in the creation of the supportive relationship.
The payor has the burden to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a supportive relationship has existed within the year preceding the date of the filing of the supplemental petition seeking termination or modification of alimony or that a supportive relationship presently exists. If a termination or reduction is granted, the termination or reduction is retroactive to the date of the filing of the supplemental petition.
To speak to a modification of alimony attorney about cohabitation in Florida, call Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 651-7273.