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Supportive Relationship

In Orlando, Tampa and throughout Florida, regarding permanent alimony, the payments of alimony could terminate before the agreed upon time or court ordered time “upon the existence of a supportive relationship.” Fla. Stat. § 61.08. For a court to reduce or terminate an award of alimony based on the existence of a supportive relationship, the court must make specific written findings that “since the granting of a divorce and the award of alimony a supportive relationship has existed between the [receiving spouse] and a person with whom the [receiving spouse] resides.”  Fla. Stat. § 61.14(1)(b).
 

What is a Supportive Relationship? 

When determining whether a supportive relationship exists, the court will consider several factors. These factors are not exhaustive. The court has discretion to consider the specific facts and circumstances in each case to make determination. The court will consider:
  • 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.

Fla. Stat. § 61.14(1)(b)(2). Those who would like to prove the existence of supportive relationship would do well to include evidence related to the above factors. 

 Practice Pointer - Proving a Supportive Relationship

The paying spouse must prove that a supportive relationship exists based upon the preponderance of the evidence. The preponderance of the evidence burden is a complex legal concept. However, something could be proven by a preponderance of the evidence if more convincing evidence with probable truth and accuracy show that it is more likely that a supportive relationship exists than not. A few people have described it as a greater than 50% chance that the proposition is true. 

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