Although it is not intended to be, alimony is often viewed by many in Tavares as a form of punishment leveled against a more “well-off” spouse. In reality, alimony is merely meant to be a means of temporary financial assistance. It is widely recognized that some make career sacrifices in order to fulfill familial responsibilities (such as caring for children). If and when those people divorce, their spouse’s may be asked to support them until they are able to provide for themselves. Often, that comes with a supported spouse choosing to remarry, at which point an alimony obligation will typically end.
Yet what if one receiving alimony chooses not to marry a new partner in order to keep receiving such support? Cohabitation is indeed becoming more popular in the U.S.; the Institute for Family Studies reports that as of 2015, the cohabitation rates of women and men in America are 17.1 and 15.9 percent, respectively. Yet the standard for continuing to receive alimony is not simply avoiding remarriage. If one is viewed as being in a “supportive relationship,” the court may choose to end their entitlement to alimony.
When determining whether an alimony recipient’s new relationship is supportive, Section 61.14(2) of Florida’s state statutes says that the court considers the following:
- Whether or not they live with their new partner (and for how long)
- The extent to which they and their new partner support each other (either by pooling their financial assets and income or providing each other services)
- Whether they have worked with their new partner to enhance anything of value
- The extent to which their new partner supports their children
Ultimately, if a couple presents themselves as married (even if they are not), the court typically considers them to be in a supportive relationship.