What is a Supportive Relationship to Terminate Alimony (fla. state 61.14)
In Florida, there are six kinds of alimony or, as now termed, spousal support. The change to the term spousal support is largely due to the fact support during and following a divorce can be awarded to either spouse, husband, or wife. For many years, alimony was almost always given only to a woman, and so a new term helps identify that either party is eligible to be considered for financial help. One kind of alimony awarded is termed permanent alimony as it is awarded for life until either party dies or the party receiving alimony payments remarries or enters into a cohabitating, supportive relationship with a non-relative.
Over the years, times have changed, and there are no longer (in most states) laws forbidding a couple to live together unless they are married. Society, in general, now accepts cohabitating relationships as normal, and there is no condemning of a couple who chooses to do so. And so, it was very convenient and often profitable for a couple to live together in mutual support while one or both were still receiving monthly alimony payments from his or her ex-spouse. However, in Florida, laws have been passed that living together with someone who is not a relative such as a parent, sibling, or child is said to be cohabitating. Cohabitating is considered a supportive relationship when the parties are not only living together but combining incomes and expenses. If a couple keeps their finances completely separate, they can be cohabitating but not considered in a supportive relationship.
And so, as was mentioned in the first paragraph, if permanent alimony was awarded and the person receiving alimony decides to enter into a supportive, cohabitating relationship, the permanent alimony will cease and cannot be reinstated should the cohabitating relationship not work out. However, it is essential to note that the party ordered to pay alimony cannot just stop paying. He or she must return to court to prove there is a supportive, cohabitating relationship, and then the judge will remove the order for permanent alimony.
Proving a supportive, cohabitating relationship is not always easy as the keyword here is “supportive.” There must be proof such as joint bank accounts, credit cards, title to a car or house, or paying each other’s medical expenses. Just shopping together or living in the same dwelling will not prove a supportive relationship. In order to be sure you have the correct kind and amount of proof you will need to convince a judge, it is imperative to retain a successful family law attorney. And, should you live in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, or Orange County, you can contact Family Law Attorney Grant Gisondo to help you with your termination of permanent alimony. Attorney Gisondo offers a free, initial, in-office consultation where he will answer your questions and share how he can help. Please call his office at (561) 530-4568 for an appointment. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturdays for new clients from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM.