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Modifying alimony if the former spouse lives with another person

On behalf of Martin Feldman of Fischer & Feldman, P.A. posted in Alimony on Friday, March 24, 2017.

When there is an order of support for a former spouse in Florida, there are several reasons for which there might be a spousal support modification. One that arises relatively frequently is if the court finds that after the order of financial support was granted as part of the divorce, the receiving spouse — otherwise known as the obligee — has a supportive relationship with another person with whom he or she resides. If there is a belief that this is the case, the former spouse who is paying — the obligor — faces the burden of proof to show that the relationship exists and the support order should be modified.

The court must determine the nature of the relationship between the obligee and the person with whom he or she is residing with. They will consider several factors to decide on this matter. One issue is whether the obligee and the person are representing themselves as married by using the same last name, have the same mailing address, refer to one another as husband or wife, or conduct themselves in a way that is evidence of a permanent relationship.

The amount of time the obligee has lived with the other person in a permanent residence will be factored in. Also important are the following issues: if the assets or income are pooled or there are other indications of financial interdependence; if they support one another in whole or partially; if they performed valuable services for one another or the other’s employer or company; if the obligee and the other person have joined together to create or enhance something of value; if the obligee and the other person have joined together to purchase property; if there is evidence that the oligee and the other person have an agreement or implied agreement to share support or property; and if they are supporting children belonging to the other even if there is no legal duty for them to do that.

If a person is providing support to a former spouse, it can be an issue if they discover that the former spouse is living with another person in a supportive relationship but has not informed the supporting former spouse or the court. If there is a belief that this is taking place, the order can be modified to account for this reality. Discussing the matter with an attorney who is experienced in alimony can help with this type of situation.

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