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My Ex-Wife Has a Live-In Boyfriend. So, Do I Still Need to Pay Her Alimony?

An ex-wife has a live-in paramour, and they are financially interdependent on one another. This would require a reduction in the former husband's alimony obligation, right? Not necessarily...

If you are a person that pays alimony, you are probably very familiar with the term “supportive relationship.”  In essence, a supportive relationship occurs when a party who receives alimony is in a relationship with another person, and  they conduct themselves in a manner that evidences a permanent supportive relationship for an extended amount of time, such that they pool together their assets and income or otherwise demonstrate financial interdependence upon one another.   As a general rule, if a payor of alimony can prove that the recipient is in a supportive relationship, this will be considered in reducing an award of alimony. 

In the recent case of King v. King, a case from the Second District Court of Appeal, a former husband brought a claim against his ex-wife, trying to reduce his alimony obligation based on the alleged existence of a supportive relationship.  He was able to prove that she exhibited the requirements of a supportive relationship, as the boyfriend contributed $1,000 per month to the household expenses, and they had been living together for an extended period of time. 

However, even though he showed financial interdependence between the two of them, since their cohabitation began prior to the entry of the final judgment of dissolution of marriage and award of alimony, the appellate court concluded that the former husband’s alimony award could not be reduced.  The court stated that the statutory language in Florida Statute section 61.14(1)(b) indicates that a relationship is only “supportive” if it has existed “since the granting of a divorce and the award of alimony.” 

As a result, because the former wife was already cohabitating with her boyfriend at the time of the divorce and alimony award, the other circumstances demonstrating their financial interdependence would not qualify to reduce the former husband’s obligation because it had not happened “since” that time.

As a practicing family law attorney in the Carrollwood area, we see cases like this quite frequently, illustrating how each individual court ruling is incredibly fact-intensive.  For instance, if the former wife had remarried the boyfriend after the divorce, or alternatively if the boyfriend had moved in with the former wife the day after the final judgment dissolving the marriage, the former husband could probably have gotten the alimony reduced. 

It may appear to many that the result of this case would encourage parties to start living with their paramour prior to a final divorce if they want to prevent a latter reduction of alimony based on a supportive relationship.   While I do not believe that this was what the legislature intended in creating this statute, it seems to be the only logical outcome if the courts apply facts to the statute as it is currently written. 

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Kevin Newsome March 15, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Wow. So the legislature appears to "encourage" what traditional family values would "discourage." Isn't it an oxymoron when politicians are legislating morals? Nicely written Ms Thomson.
Anne Cobb aka www.thepostcardlady.com December 17, 2012 at 12:25 AM
I had a friend same situation, as long as she she is not married to him, you pay. yep it stinks, but those are the rules on that situation.
David Hardingham January 28, 2013 at 08:16 PM
alimony is an archaic practice from 1950s were women were still seen as not capable, other than nurse, school teacher, social worker or sectary. Even with rosy the riveter and her fellow women who ran our factory’s during WW1 and 2 but after the war the men came back so women all lost their jobs. So while there still are glass ceilings in some company’s at higher levels most women who do not make over 50k, do not normally see them. And very few jobs now days are banned from women as long as they got the training and ability as I know a female fireman but again I trust her to carry me down a fire ladder from a burning building with a single hesitation. So I believe if a women has found a man there should not be alimony however child support should never change except for one reason which is valid of both and that is a reduction in income of the payer which is a very valid reason for a payer to have their alimony and or child support payment dropped Also alimony should be restricted to no more than 3 years which is the time it would take to get a GED and operational license or a undergrad degree Plus the statute is so wrong as it not only promotes cohabitation over marriage and second there should be no alimony if in another relationship even before you were divorced.
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Shonnie Holmes May 10, 2013 at 12:21 AM
Are you kidding me? Archaic from the 50's !! Consider the situation of a 40 year marriage where the wife stayed home raised the kids, supported the husband and he wants a young new wife. Add to the his ex wife is in an auto accident, not of her fault, sitting at a stop light, slammed into by a drunk driver being chased by the police. Broken neck and back, in pain for the rest of her life, unable to work per her doctors. He makes big bucks and is trying to stop her maintenance . At sixty she deserves better. A closed mind is a dangerous thing.
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Rich May 22, 2013 at 02:31 PM
You can always shoot the bitch and then leave a note as to the reason for killing her and yourself was alimony. Maybe then courts would realize they cause problems by forcing you to pay some slut. Child support, ok... Alimony, fuck that, Id rather die and take her with me!!!
stephanie May 26, 2013 at 03:24 PM
I have a question my boyfriend pays his ex wife alimony and everything else car payments cell phone everything when she gets remairred this week does he still have to pay all of that?
David Hardingham May 26, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Shonnie Holmes you the exception not the rule as they always exceptions to the rules and they should throw the book at loser like your X but the point I made is women now have a wide range of opportunity’s which is quite equal to men which was not the case in the 1950s were women were offered very few opportunity’s and seriously underpaid in the jobs they could get. Which has been greatly improved and women under 30 that are childless can make more money now them men up to 6% to 20% more now in 147 city’s study’s. so A divoried woman who got a settlement should be required to go back to school if able and make a life for her self. but 2 working people should not get alimony
David Hardingham May 26, 2013 at 07:33 PM
stephanie he should not but with the laws the way they are he might have to which is why the laws need to be changed
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