Modification of Alimony Based Upon a Supportive Relationship
When parties go through a divorce and alimony is ordered by the court, the court bases its determination on the circumstances that existed at that time. However, after the divorce is finalized, circumstances may substantially change giving rise to grounds for modification or termination of alimony. Ex-spouses may enter into new relationships which can become serious. The receiving spouse realizes that if she/he remarries the alimony will stop. Understanding that, they will enter into a supportive relationship that stops short of marriage. Realizing that this was a problem the legislature enacted a law to address the area.
The Florida legislature has by statute created a grounds for alimony modification based upon the receiving spouse being in a supportive relationship. At the law offices of West Palm Beach divorce attorney, Stephen J. Press, we represent clients in proceedings where one spouse seeks to lower or terminate alimony based upon a supportive relationship. Additionally, we represent parties in all areas of divorce and family law.What is a Supportive Relationship?
In 2005, the Florida legislature enacted section 61.14 (1) (b) which sets out the statutory law concerning supportive relationships as grounds for modification or termination of alimony. Interestingly, although the statute does not define a "supportive relationship", it enumerates eleven nonexclusive factors to be considered. The courts the case law has begun to interpret the statute. Thus, a court is required to determine if the spouse is receiving alimony has entered into a relationship that provides the economic support equivalent to a marriage. The eleven factors include but are not limited to:
- Length of cohabitation and whether they have shown financial interdependence;
- agreed expressly or impliedly to support one another;
- actually support one another;
- performed services for each other;
- bought property or assets together;
- or, supported each other's children
The court may rely on any one factor or several factors listed as well as others not listed. The factors are therefore suggestions or guidelines to assist the court in determining whether cohabitation is supportive in the same way that modern marriage is supportive. Even permanent alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a supportive relationship. The statute itself states that the existence of a conjugal relationship, though it may be relevant to the nature and extent of the relationship, is not necessary for the application of the provisions of the statute. The law further provides that if a party applies for a reduction of alimony and the circumstances justify a reduction, the court may make the reduction of alimony regardless of whether or not the party applying for it has fully paid the accrued obligations to the other party at the time of the application or at the time of the order of modification.Contact us Regarding Alimony Modification
Because this area is so technical, it is recommended that if you are involved with this issue you should consider seeking representation with an experienced attorney. At the law offices of West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney, Stephen J. Press we have been represented clients in legal proceedings concerning alimony modification and termination for over four decades. Please contact us at our offices in West Palm Beach at (561) 833-2772 or contact us online for a free consultation.