How Cohabitation Affects Alimony
In many Florida divorce cases, the wealthier spouse will pay the other spouse alimony during and after the proceedings. Spousal support is intended to help the spouse less well-off adjust to becoming financially independent and maintain a standard of living following the end of the marriage. However, if the recipient spouse begins to cohabitate with another person after the end of their marriage, it could affect whether that former spouse continues to receive support from their divorce decree. If you have questions about whether cohabitation is affecting your divorce settlement, call or contact the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg today to schedule a free consultation.
What is Cohabitation?
Under Florida law, cohabitation is defined as the existence of a supportive relationship between a former spouse and a new partner. Simply living with another person is not enough to be considered cohabitating. In order to qualify as cohabitation, the court considers the following questions:
- Whether the former spouse and new partner hold themselves out as a married couple
- Does the former spouse and new partner use the same last name and mailing address
- The length of time the former spouse has lived with the new partner
- The extent to which finances have been combined or demonstrated financial interdependence
- Whether the former spouse or new partner has financially supported the other’s children
- Whether the new couple has worked to create or enhance something of value
- Any existence of an express or implied agreement regarding property sharing and support
- Any joint purchase of real estate or other significant property
- Any other evidence that shows the former spouse and new partner conducting themselves in a manner that suggests a permanent, supportive relationship
In addition, a former spouse cannot cohabitate with someone who is related by blood or marriage. However, the law does not require proof that a conjugal relationship exists.
How Cohabitation Can Affect Alimony
Proof of cohabitation can significantly affect the payment of alimony between former spouses after a divorce. The purpose of alimony is to help a former spouse financially once they are on their own after a marriage ends, and cohabitating with a new partner alleviates the reliance on the paying spouse for financial help. The spouse paying alimony can claim that cohabitation qualifies as a substantial change in circumstances that will either significantly reduce or altogether terminate alimony payments to the recipient spouse.
In addition, former spouses that are receiving alimony payments should consider whether their current status with a new partner qualifies as cohabitation, and if so whether they can stay financially solvent without spousal support payments. An experienced Florida family law attorney will be able to review the facts of your case and provide sound legal advice on the status of cohabitation.
Call Our Office Now
If you would like to speak with Boca Raton family lawyer about whether cohabitation could affect the alimony payments in your case, call or contact the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg today for a free consultation.