In a divorce case, the court may order alimony to be paid to the spouse who is expected to need financial support post-divorce. In the vast majority of cases, this is the spouse who earned less than the other or made career and/or education sacrifices to perform domestic duties, such as maintaining a household and providing childcare.
Alimony can be an important resource for those who receive it, but it doesn’t always last forever. Even if a judge orders permanent alimony, certain events can terminate this court order. These events include the receiving spouse’s remarriage or if they begin to cohabit with a new partner.
If the paying spouse proves the receiving spouse’s new cohabitation when petitioning to modify alimony, the judge may order reduced payments or termination of alimony altogether.
What Is Considered Cohabitation?
Cohabitation often involves living with a new partner, but sharing living arrangements alone may not be enough to prove cohabitation. A more decisive consideration is whether or not the receiving spouse is involved in a supportive relationship with their new partner.
Under Florida law, a “supportive relationship” can entail two things:
- The spouse receiving alimony benefits from support provided by their new partner
- The spouse receiving alimony contributes to the support of their new partner
When evaluating the level of alleged support, the court will determine whether or not it’s equivalent to the level of support that one would receive or give during marriage. If a judge rules that it does meet this level of support, then alimony can be reduced or terminated.
Is Support from a Family Member Considered Cohabitation?
No. Living with relatives such as parents or siblings is generally excluded from consideration when it comes to determining cohabitation. Despite this, many petitions are filed in attempts to modify alimony when someone receives support from their relatives.
Legal Representation in Alimony Disputes
A legal dispute concerning alimony can be complicated to resolve, especially if a petitioner raises allegations of cohabitation. Beatriz Zyne, P.A. has experience in various aspects of family law and divorce that can address your needs whether you wish to modify your alimony order or require assistance to defend it.
With our assistance, we can help you protect your interests and assert your rights by overcoming legal obstacles to a brighter future.
Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about how we can help.