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Proving Your Former Spouse Is In A “Supportive Relationship” To Stop Making Alimony Payments


Florida has recently passed legislation making it easier for a spouse who is paying alimony to prove that they no longer should be making alimony payments. A former spouse may petition the court to stop alimony payments if they can prove that their ex-spouse has entered into a “supportive relationship” with another individual. The text of the law doesn’t clearly define what a “supportive relationship” entails, but it does outline some of the qualities of one. In this article, the Orlando, FL divorce lawyers at Greater Orlando Family Law will discuss what constitutes a “supportive relationship” and how you can prove one exists to stop paying alimony.

Understanding the new law 

The new changes to the law require the court to reduce or eliminate alimony payments if it can be established that the receiving spouse has entered into a supportive relationship. Under the old law, the text read that the court may reduce alimony payments if a supportive relationship were established. Under the new law, the court must reduce or eliminate alimony payments.

The new law defines a supportive relationship as one that is similar to that of a marriage. It does not include spouses who move back in with their parents.

The burden of proof in supportive relationship arguments 

According to the new law, the spouse who is paying alimony has the burden of proving a supportive relationship exists. Those who cannot prove such a relationship will not be able to terminate or reduce their alimony payments. A paying spouse must establish by a “preponderance of the evidence” that a supportive relationship exists. In other words, the court will decide if there is a supportive relationship based on whether it is more likely than not.

Proving the existence of a supportive relationship in Florida 

How do the Florida courts define a supportive relationship? Well, there are several factors that they consider. A spouse seeking to reduce alimony payments will need to prove all of the following:

  • The public appearance of a relationship – A spouse seeking to terminate alimony payments will need to establish the “appearance” of a relationship. For example, does the couple refer to themselves as “boyfriend” and “girlfriend”? Are they established as a couple on social media? Do they use the same mailing address? Do they live together? These are all factors that the courts will consider.
  • How long has the couple lived together – You will need to establish that not only is the couple holding themselves out to be together but that they’ve lived under the same roof for a certain amount of time.
  • Financial interdependence – Is the couple pooling resources together? Are they purchasing assets together? Do they have a shared bank account? These are factors that the court will consider when deciding if they have a supportive relationship.

Note that you need not necessarily prove that a supportive relationship currently exists. You can also establish that one existed 1 year prior to the divorce filing.

Talk to an Orlando Divorce Lawyer Today 

Greater Orlando Family Law represents the interests of Orlando couples pursuing a divorce. If you are presently paying alimony and believe your spouse has entered into a supportive relationship, we can help you reduce or terminate your alimony payments. Call our Orlando family lawyers today to learn more.

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