The Florida courts will consider the effects of cohabitation or remarriage and alimony payments. When an individual in Florida receiving alimony remarries or begins living with a new partner, it can have an impact on their former spouse’s obligations to pay spousal support. While an order to pay either a lump-sum or by property transfer is unlikely to be affected, a change in living situation can lead to the modification or termination of an order for periodic alimony payments.
Remarriage and Alimony
Unless the existing order specifies otherwise, a supported spouse’s legal remarriage automatically terminates an order for alimony payments. However, it is important to note that this only holds true for legal unions. If the marriage is not legally valid, the alimony does not automatically cease. In this situation, the supporting spouse must go to court with evidence of their ex-spouse’s new living arrangement and request that the alimony order be terminated.
Cohabitation and Alimony
With cohabitation becoming an increasingly popular choice among adults, the Florida Legislature refined the laws governing alimony to address this situation in 2005. Thanks to these cohabitation laws, courts have clearly defined guidelines to inform their assessments of the relationships between people who are unrelated and living together. When a supported spouse begins living with a new partner, the supporting spouse can go to court and request that their alimony agreement is modified or terminated. For their alimony modification request to succeed, they will need to prove to the court that a supportive relationship exists between the supported spouse and their new partner.
What do Florida Courts look for when determining if a supportive relationship exists? When making this decision, the court considers the length of time that the new couple has been sharing a household. It also examines whether the supported spouse and their cohabitating partner have:
- Begun conducting themselves in a manner that suggests a permanent supportive relationship, including presenting themselves as a couple
- Combined their assets or income, creating a financial interdependence
- Made a joint purchase of personal or real property
- Worked as employer and employee or as coworkers
- Worked together to create or enhance something of value
- Displayed a willingness to support their partner’s children financially
- Shown a desire to support their partner financially, either wholly or partially
- Established an implied or express agreement involving support or property sharing
Whether you are a supporting spouse interested in modifying an existing alimony agreement or the spouse receiving alimony payments and considering taking the next step with a new partner, it is important that you understand the potential impact that cohabitation and remarriage can have on your current alimony agreement.
Cheshire Family Law has been helping Florida residents understand and navigate the complex world of divorce law since 1988. Our team knows the ins and outs of the Florida court system and works diligently to stay up-to-date on the latest laws and procedures. We take pride in providing our clients with the information necessary to make decisions and in being a strong advocate for their best interests. If you have questions about how remarriage or cohabitation might impact your alimony agreement, contact us today to arrange a consultation.