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Florida Family Law

What to Look for to Establish a Supportive Relationship in Florida

You are looking to modify alimony, reduce alimony, or decrease the amount of child support you pay to your spouse or former spouse.  How do you go about minimizing the money that comes out of your wallet during one of the most financially devastating times of your life?  You speak with your family law attorney and consider the factors below when evaluating if your spouse is in a supportive relationship.

Factors That Can Be Considered to Establish a Supportive Relationship in Florida

Some of the factors and considerations below can be considered at a hearing, deposition and trial, and will help you to determine if you have enough to establish your spouse has a supportive relationship with another person. The proper calculation of alimony and even child support, can depend on many of these factors below and you should present your attorney with any information you believe will assist in your case.

  • Are Former Wife and Supportive Partner cohabiting full or part-time?
  • Do they share a home, a bed; full or part-time (single or separate bedrooms in home)?
  • Is there any evidence of a conjugal or intimate relationship (from social networking sites, witness friends and family, photos, etc.)?
  • Do Parties have a child together?
  • Are they socially exclusive?
  • Have they expressed an intention to remain together or marry?
  • Are they usually together in one another’s presence?
  • Do they refer to one another as husband and wife?
  • Do they provide emotional support for one another?
  • Do they share holidays together?
  • Do they host social events together?
  • Do Former Wife and Supportive Partner visit Former Wife’s adult children or other family members together (and hold themselves out as a couple within the family)?
  • Do they attend family functions together (weddings, funerals, etc.)?
  • Do they share household chores?
  • Do they cook for one another?
  • Do they share household expenses – repairs, maintenance, upkeep of property, groceries, etc.?
  • Is Supportive Partner making full or partial monthly payments by cash or check directly to mortgage company, landlord, credit card companies, cell phone companies, maid service, utility companies, lawn care, security, etc. for the benefit of the Former Wife? (whether to pay for her bills or to reimburse her for his share)
  • Is Supportive Partner making monthly payments by cash or check directly to Former Wife (for rent, utilities, credit card bills, cell phone bills, maid service, lawn care, security, groceries, etc. - whether to pay for her bills or to reimburse her for his share)?
  • Does reimbursement by Supportive Partner cover one-half of expenses and food (see Former Wife’s financial affidavit) or is it substantially more or less?
  • Does Supportive Partner maintain space in Former Wife’s home?  (workshop, tool shed, home office, etc.)
  • Is Supportive Partner making monthly in-kind reimbursement by doing household chores, pool maintenance, car repairs, etc.?
    If so, is Supportive Partner charging market rate or substantially reduced rate for his services?
  • Do the parties pool their assets? (or share everything equally?)
  • Is Former Wife claiming rental payments on her taxes?
  • Have Former Wife and Supportive Partner jointly contributed to the purchase of any real or personal property?
  • Have Former Wife and Supportive Partner worked together to create or enhance anything of value (including real property)?
  • If Former Wife and Supportive Partner own separate property, is one of them renting their property to a third-party?
  • Do Former Wife and Supportive Partner share a common mailing address (for bills, driver’s license, voter’s registration)?
  • Do either Former Wife or Supportive Partner own multiple properties in Florida or other states? (do they use any properties as vacation homes together?)
  • Do Former Wife and Supportive Partner have joint bank accounts? (or have signing privileges on one another’s accounts?)
  • Do Former Wife and Supportive Partner have joint credit cards? (or have signing privileges on one credit cards?)
  • Does Supportive Partner pay for all or part of meals outside the home?
  • Does Supportive Partner provide support for children from Former Wife’s marriage (payments for tuition, uniforms, other school expenses, food, clothing, daycare, etc.)
  • Does Supportive Partner provide babysitting services for children from Former Wife’s marriage?
  • Do Former Wife and Supportive Partner travel together?  If so, do they share or split travel expenses?
  • Does Supportive Partner list Former Wife’s name and address on his Passport?
  • Does Former Wife benefit from Supportive Partner’s travel or credit cards (airfare, miles, rewards)?
  • Does Former Wife benefit from Supportive Partner’s club memberships? (gym, country club, etc.)?
  • Have Former Wife and Supportive Partner provided valuable services for one another?
  • Does Former Wife keep a ledger of payments, etc. received from Supportive Partner?
  • Do Former Wife and Supportive Partner own automobiles, boats, jet ski’s, motorcycles, etc. together or has Supportive Partner purchased same for Former Wife?
  • Has Supportive Partner’s business provided automobile or other benefit to FW?
  • Have Former Wife and Supportive Partner provided  valuable services for the other’s company or employer?
  • Do Former Wife and Supportive Partner drive to work together?
  • Does Former Wife use Supportive Partner’s car?
  • Do Former Wife and Supportive Partner share insurance policies or are they listed on one another’s insurance policies (health, automobile, homeowners, live insurance, etc.)?
  • Are Former Wife and Supportive Partner listed as one another’s beneficiaries on one another’s retirement accounts, insurance policies (health, automobile, homeowners, live insurance, etc.)?
  • Has Supportive Partner purchased expensive items for Former Wife (jewelry, electronics, cameras, etc.)?
  • What is the length of time Former Wife and Supportive Partner have been in a relationship?   Have Former Wife and Supportive Partner been in a relationship as long as or longer than the parties’ marriage?
  • Has Supportive Partner loaned money to Former Wife?
  • If so, is/was there a written promissory note?  Is the loan listed on the Former Wife’s Financial Affidavit?  Did Supportive Partner charge interest on the loan?
  • Has Supportive Partner paid Former Wife’s bills, attorney’s fees?
  • Are Former Wife and Supportive Partner listed as one another’s health care advocates or health care surrogates and caretakers of one another?
  • Do Former Wife and Supportive Partner each have unrestricted use and enjoyment of other’s real estate?
  • Is Former Wife named in Supportive Partner will or estate planning documents, or vice-versa?
  • Have either Former Wife and Supportive Partner expressed verbally a desire to list the other in their estate planning?
  • Has Former Wife’s net worth increased since her relationship with Supportive Partner?  (since divorce?)
  • Have Former Wife’s living expenses decreased since her relationship with Supportive Partner?  (since divorce?)
  • Do the parties attend church together?

F.S. 61.14(1)(b)(2) provides that when determining whether an existing award of alimony should be reduced or terminated on the grounds of an alleged supportive relationship between the Former Wife and a person “not related by consanguinity or affinity and with whom the obligee [Former Wife] resides,” the court must “elicit the nature and extent of the relationship.”  In determining the relationship of the Former Wife to another person, the court shall “give consideration, without limitation, to circumstances, including, but not limited to,” the following:

a. 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.

b. The period of time that the obligee has resided with the other person in a permanent place of abode.

c. The extent to which the obligee and the other person have pooled their assets or income or otherwise exhibited financial interdependence.

d. The extent to which the obligee or the other person has supported the other, in whole or in part.

e. The extent to which the obligee or the other person has performed valuable services for the other.

f. The extent to which the obligee or the other person has performed valuable services for the other’s company or employer.

g. Whether the obligee and the other person have worked together to create or enhance anything of value.

h. Whether the obligee and the other person have jointly contributed to the purchase of any real or personal property.

i. Evidence in support of a claim that the obligee and the other person have an express agreement regarding property sharing or support.

j. Evidence in support of a claim that the obligee and the other person have an implied agreement regarding property sharing or support.

k. Whether the obligee and the other person have provided support to the children of one another, regardless of any legal duty to do so.

F.S. 61.14(1)(b)(3) furthermore recognizes the existence of relationships that provide economic support equivalent to a marriage and that alimony terminable on remarriage may be reduced or terminated upon the establishment of such equivalent equitable circumstances, specifically noting that, the “existence of a conjugal relationship, though it may be relevant to the nature and extent of the relationship, is not necessary for the application of the provisions of this paragraph.”

Looking to Modify Alimony?

Looking to modify alimony or decrease the amount of child support you pay to your spouse or former spouse? We strongly recommend consulting with an experienced Orlando family law attorney that can advise and represent you in court if needed. Call us today at (407) 426-6999 or fill out the online form provided on this page and we will contact you shortly. We represent clients throughout Central Florida and have offices in Orlando and Kissimmee. Your privacy is very important to us and we will keep your information confidential. Free parking available on site.

 

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