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What can impact permanent alimony payments?

According to Florida family law, a person can be required to pay permanent spousal support. This means that a person is mandated to meet this financial obligation for an indefinite period of time, unless certain conditions are met.

One of the most prominent reasons why permanent alimony orders are eliminated is remarriage. As soon as the ex-spouse who receives spousal support payments enters into another marital relationship, any existing alimony requirements are typically voided.

Although the case of remarriage is fairly clear cut for eliminating alimony orders, other situations are not quite as definitive. For example, people may enter long-term relationships after divorce, but may never get remarried. Even though this situation doesn’t involve tying the knot again, some relationships can resemble marriage in many ways. As such, is a person in this situation still entitled to alimony payments?

The answer to this question is not necessarily black and white. Florida law indicates that alimony orders can be modified or eliminated once a person is in a "supportive relationship," which isn't the same as marriage.

People can submit a request in court to change their alimony settlement based on their ex-spouse's current relationship status. The law provides a few points of consideration to determine whether or not a relationship can be defined as supportive:

  • Sharing a residence
  • Combining assets and other financial matters
  • Joint ownership of property
  • Providing financial support to the other person's children

Of course, the points listed don’t constitute an exhaustive list of what a judge will consider when handling an alimony modification case. The important thing to remember is that both spouses involved in an alimony settlement should understand what factors can impact their agreement. This way, they can have a better understanding of their financial status in the immediate and long term.

Source:, "It's The Law: Supportive relationship can terminate alimony," William Morris, Jan. 28, 2014

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