Can You Stop Paying Alimony If Your Ex Moves in With a New Partner?
One of the kinder things that has been said about Florida alimony laws is that they are old-fashioned. Some of the alimony laws still on the books come from a time when women had very limited earning potential and when men were almost always the only source of financial support for their wives and minor children. A lot about marriage and divorce has changed since the 1960s, the greater representation of women in high-income jobs being just one of the changes. Divorce is much more common today than it was when your parents were young, and so is cohabitation among unmarried couples. Alimony used to terminate automatically if the recipient spouse remarried, but what if the recipient spouse moves in with a new partner but they do not get legally married? In order to make sure that your alimony agreement reflects the reality of your situation and your ex-spouse’s, contact a Florida divorce attorney and alimony lawyer.
Alimony for Chumps
Imagine the worst-case scenario: A financially secure man who has achieved success in his career divorces his wife after 20 years of marriage when they are in their 40s. The court requires him to pay his wife permanent alimony because she was a stay-at-home parent throughout the marriage. He continues working, and his wife continues not working, and he pays her thousands of dollars in alimony every month. This continues for years, even though she has met a new man who has just as much money as her ex-husband. They live together in a house paid for, in part, by the alimony she receives from the ex-husband. In fact, the new boyfriend wants to marry her, but she refuses because she would stop receiving alimony. Certainly, this is unfair.
A Potential Solution
The law needed to make provisions about relationships where people live together and share finances but aren’t married. In the 70s, cohabitation used to be called “shacking up,” but now it is so common that it doesn’t need a distinct name. Senate Bill 152, introduced in 2005, addresses this loophole in the law that allowed too many gold diggers to double-dip simultaneously from their ex-spouses and their new partners.
Under current Florida law, if you can prove that your ex-spouse is in a “supportive relationship” with a new partner, you have grounds to modify your alimony agreement. “Supportive relationship” just means that your ex gets considerable financial support from the new partner; they may or may not live in the same house. Likewise, modifying your alimony agreement may not take away all your alimony obligations, but it could reduce the amount you are required to pay.
Contact Sean Smallwood, P.A. About Alimony Cases
Sean Smallwood is an Orlando divorce attorney for the law firm Sean Smallwood, Orlando Divorce & Family Law P.A. where he represents clients in all areas of family law and divorce. 100% of the practice is devoted to family law. As an attorney in Orlando, he has helped many families with a wide variety of family law cases including Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, and many other issues.