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For Purposes Of Calculating Alimony, What Is A Supportive Relationship?


According to Florida law, alimony awards, even those that come with a built-in end date, can be terminated ahead of schedule if the recipient spouse remarries.  Of course, what happens if your ex enters a serious relationship and does not marry her new partner but depends on him financially while also collecting alimony from you?  Dating someone new does not require a divorced person to forfeit alimony, but entering a “supportive relationship” does.  According to Florida case law, a supportive relationship is one that financially takes the place of marriage.  Outside the context of decisions about modifying or terminating alimony, the relationship does not have any legal standing; Florida law does not recognize common law marriage or de facto marriage.  If you need to modify the alimony the court has ordered you to pay because your ex-spouse has entered a supportive relationship with a new partner, contact a Palm Beach County alimony lawyer.

When Your Ex-Wife Spends Her Alimony Check on Her New Beau and His Children

When Dennis and Nancy divorced in 2005, he was earning nearly $500,000 per year as a cardiologist, while she had been out of the workforce since the 1980s, so the court divided their property unequally.  Nancy kept the marital home and continued to live there with her adult son from her first marriage and with the 17-year-old daughter she and Dennis shared.  The court ordered Dennis to pay Nancy $3200 per month in alimony and $1,000 in child support, but when the parties’ daughter turned 18, the child support would end and all $4200 would be considered alimony.

After the divorce, Nancy began dating Mark, and he moved into Nancy’s house in 2008.  Although Mark worked, he did not contribute to the mortgage payments and paid only about $150 per month to household expenses.  In 2012, Dennis filed a motion for downward modification of alimony.  He argued that Nancy was using the alimony he paid her to support a whole new family.  After Nancy’s son moved out, she re-furnished his old bedroom so Mark’s two minor children could sleep there during their father’s parenting time.  Dennis and Nancy’s young adult daughter and her baby were also living in the house.  If Nancy could support all these people with her alimony check, didn’t this mean that the amount exceeded her expenses?  If not, shouldn’t Mark or the parties’ daughter contribute financially to the household instead of making Dennis bankroll everyone’s lifestyle?

The appeals court judges agreed that Nancy and Mark were in a supportive relationship.  They disagreed, however, about whether this was reason to modify Dennis’s alimony obligation, since Nancy was supporting Mark and not the other way around.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

A Boca Raton alimony lawyer can help you reduce your alimony obligations if your ex is living large while you work your fingers to the bone to pay alimony.  Contact Schwartz | White for help with your case.



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