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Supportive Relationships in Florida and Effect on Alimony

The family law courts in our state over the last several years have been seeing a larger number of what is called ‘Supportive Relationship’ cases. When a spouse in a divorce case is awarded spousal support or alimony, the payment award is usually terminated, by operation of law, upon the remarriage of the former spouse. But what if the former spouse who is receiving the alimony doesn’t get remarried, but rather lives with another person, who is not a family member, and is otherwise engaged in a de facto marriage – shouldn’t that be considered as a basis for a review for possible modification or termination of the payor’s alimony obligation? 

The answer is yes, and under Florida law, the facts for consideration fall under the term Supportive Relationship. While the Florida statute does not have a clear definition for such term, there are a variety of statutory factors that the court needs to look at to determine whether a supportive relationship exists, and if it is determined that one does in fact exist, then there is a presumption that the alimony should be reduced or terminated, and then the burden turns to the former spouse receiving such payments to show that such payments are still needed- i.e., that the payee still has a need for such alimony.
I have represented several former spouses in their request for such relief from continued payment, and there has developed a body of case law in our state interpreting the statute and giving guidance to parties, attorneys, and trial judges on this issue. If you would think that you may have a claim to seek a reduction or termination of your alimony payments under such circumstances, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.