Modification of Alimony Part 4 of 7 | Divorce Attorney Fort Myers/Naples

SUPPORTIVE RELATIONSHIP

(b)1. The court may reduce or terminate an award of alimony upon specific written findings by the court that since the granting of a divorce and the award of alimony a supportive relationship has existed between the obligee and a person with whom the obligee resides. On the issue of whether alimony should be reduced or terminated under this paragraph, the burden is on the obligor to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a supportive relationship exists.

(b)2. In determining whether an existing award of alimony should be reduced or terminated because of an alleged supportive relationship between an obligee and a person who is not related by consanguinity or affinity and with whom the obligee resides, the court shall elicit the nature and extent of the relationship in question. The court shall give consideration, without limitation, to circumstances, including, but not limited to, the following, in determining the relationship of an obligee to another person:

  •  The extent to which the obligee and the other person have held themselves out as a married couple by engaging in conduct such as using the same last name, using a common mailing address, referring to each other in terms such as “my husband” or “my wife,” or otherwise conducting themselves in a manner that evidences a permanent supportive relationship.
  •  The period of time that the obligee has resided with the other person in a permanent place of abode.
  •  The extent to which the obligee and the other person have pooled their assets or income or otherwise exhibited financial interdependence.
  •  The extent to which the obligee or the other person has supported the other, in whole or in part.
  •  The extent to which the obligee or the other person has performed valuable services for the other.
  •  The extent to which the obligee or the other person has performed valuable services for the other’s company or employer.
  •  Whether the obligee and the other person have worked together to create or enhance anything of value.
  •  Whether the obligee and the other person have jointly contributed to the purchase of any real or personal property.
  •  Evidence in support of a claim that the obligee and the other person have an express agreement regarding property sharing or support.
  •  Evidence in support of a claim that the obligee and the other person have an implied agreement regarding property sharing or support.
  •  Whether the obligee and the other person have provided support to the children of one another, regardless of any legal duty to do so.
  • The fact that the parties did not have joint bank accounts was not sufficient evidence to make a factual finding that the parties do not “pool their assets for purposes of living expenses.” Id. at 954. The pooling of assets can mean the providing of goods and services to one another even if there is no joint account. Id. Moreover, the payee spouse need not be “completely dependent” on the cohabitant before finding that there is a “supportive relationship.” -Buxton v. Buxton, 963 So. 2d 950 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007)
  • parties may agree to a different standard for “supportive relationship” purposes in a settlement agreement. See Robinson v. Robinson, 788 So.2d 1092 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001) (where the plain language of the parties’ marital settlement agreement   provided for termination of alimony upon the wife’s cohabitation with another male).

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