Archive of March 2014

March 19, 2014

Alimony Modification

Do you receive alimony and haven’t remarried so that you will continue to receive it? Is your ex in a supportive relationship with another, yet you are still paying spousal support? In 2005 Florida courts enacted a Florida Statue §61.14(1)(😎, which provided grounds for modification of alimony if the payee was in a supportive relationship. However, the definition of a supportive relationship was rather ambiguous and left a great deal of interpretation up to the Judges and thus substantial litigation. Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal recently addressed the issue of modification of alimony in Murphy v. Murphy, No. 3D11-1604 (Fla. 3d DCANov. 6, 2013). In Murphy, a trial court granted a former husband’s petition for a reduction, or “downward modification,” of alimony. After conducting an evidentiary hearing, the trial court concluded that the former wife was in a “supportive relationship” as defined under Fla. Stat. §61.14(1)(😎 and that a reduction in the former wife’s alimony was appropriate. The Court provided further definition for cohabitation or a supportive relationship: “the statute specifically provides that a supportive relationship may exist if, in whole or in part, either the obligee or the other person is supporting the other, is providing valuable services for the other, or providing support to the other’s children…The impact that a third party cohabitant’s contribution, financial or otherwise, may have on the former spouse’s need is merely a relevant consideration as to whether to reduce or terminate alimony after a determination is made that a supportive relationship exists.” —- If you are the recipient of alimony and (1) in a relationship with a person who provides valuable services to you; or (2) provides support to your children, financial or otherwise; or (3) if you provide to the support of your cohabitant; and it is determined that a supportive relationship exists, it may be a relevant consideration in whether there could be a reduction or termination of alimony. Conversely, if your feel that your former spouse is in a supportive relationship and you are paying alimony, you may have grounds for modification of alimony. To modify alimony under Florida Statute §61.14(1) the party must establish that (1) there was a change in circumstances; (2) the change in circumstances was not contemplated at the time of the final judgment for divorce; and (3) the change in circumstances is sufficient, involuntary, material and permanent in nature. If you would like more information or guidance on this important issue, contact Pates Law Group today.

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