After a divorce, nearly all individuals enter into a new marriage or relationship. Therefore, it is important to fully understand how new developments in your life, specifically your personal relationships, may affect aspects of your divorce, even after its conclusion. If you are entering a new relationship and receiving alimony payments, it is crucial to discuss how the elements of this new relationship can affect your eligibility for continued alimony payments. Therefore, contact an experienced divorce attorney to ensure you fully informed, understand your rights, and are protected.
Florida law provides for the payment of alimony in order to provide necessary financial support to a spouse who may be financially dependent upon their former partner. In many cases, this dependency is seen when one spouse has stayed home while the other provided financially for the family’s needs. Therefore, the spouse has no independent income, a significantly less income, or lost valuable work experience that is necessary to obtain employment. When alimony is awarded, there is generally a date noted in the divorce decree of when alimony payments will cease or a number of triggering events that will alleviate the obligation of payments. For many years, the death of either spouse, the remarriage of the recipient spouse, or a significant change in circumstances were the only triggering events recognized by the court. However, in 2005, Florida legislature provided a third avenue; “An [alimony] award may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship.”
This statute was enacted upon the revelation that many recipients were postponing marriage to their new partner in order to continue to receive alimony payments. Therefore, new legislation was passed in order to prevent use of the loop hole, of cohabitation without a legal marriage, in order to receive alimony payments that were no longer financially necessary. In order to substantiate a claim of termination of alimony payments the court must find, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a supportive relationship exists. Evidence of this relationship may include: holding each other out as a married couple; sharing a mailing address; the length of the relationship; nature of the relationship; pooling of assets; joint acquisition of property; sharing bills; cohabitation; and any other evidence deemed relevant by the court. However, it is important to note that familial cohabitation is not considered to be a supportive relationship.
Therefore, even if you are not married to your new partner your new relationship can have an effect on your alimony award if it meets a certain threshold. Ensure you are protected and informed when pursuing a new relationship after your divorce. A knowledgeable attorney will discuss with you the important details of your alimony award and new relationship. It is important to determine if a new relationship meets the standard of supportive relationship and having an experienced lawyer is imperative. We understand the complicated alimony process and can lead you through every aspect with ease.
Speaking to an attorney at our Pensacola office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at (800) 822-5170 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.