How Do I Prove My Ex Is in a Supportive Relationship after a Florida Divorce?
Thanks to recent changes to Florida’s divorce laws, spouses may cease alimony payments if they can prove that their exes have entered into certain supportive relationships. Therefore, there is now a strong incentive to prove that these relationships exist, as doing so can save you from paying alimony. The question is simple: How do you prove that these relationships have occurred? What kind of evidence do you need to gather, and what is the burden of proof?
New Changes to Florida’s Alimony Laws Explained
New changes to Florida’s alimony laws state that the court must reduce or terminate alimony if it is established that the receiving spouse has entered into a supportive relationship. This is a marked change, as the previous legislation used the word “may” instead of “must.” In almost all cases, this supportive relationship is a romantic one that mimics that of a marriage. It does not apply to family relationships (such as moving back in with one’s parents).
The Burden of Proof
The legislation also states that the obligor (the spouse who is paying alimony) shoulders the burden of proof when establishing these relationships. If you cannot prove that your ex has entered into a supportive relationship, you cannot terminate alimony. The legislation goes on to say that there must be a “preponderance of evidence” that shows that this relationship exists. This is a common standard in civil cases. Essentially, you must show that the chance of this relationship existing is more than 50%.
How to Prove the Existence of a Supportive Relationship in Florida
There are a few things that you need to keep in mind when gathering evidence of a supportive relationship in Florida. Firstly, you can show that a supportive relationship existed 365 days before the divorce filing. The relationship doesn’t necessarily need to exist currently – and establishing the past existence of such a relationship can lead to reduction in the initial award of support.
The next thing you need to consider is how Florida defines these supportive relationships. The current legislation highlights several aspects of these supportive relationships that you will need to establish:
- The Public Appearance of a Relationship: The first thing you need to establish is the public “appearance” of a relationship. In a supportive relationship, couples must hold themselves out to be “together” in a public manner. This might include referring to each other by specific titles, such as “partner,” “husband,” “boyfriend,” “significant other,” and so on. They might also use the same mailing address.
- How Long they Have Lived Together: Next, you’ll need to show that the couple has lived together for a certain amount of time.
- Financial Interdependence: Financial interdependence is perhaps the most important aspect of a supportive relationship. This might include pooling of resources, purchasing assets together, and so on.
- Support of Children: A supportive relationship might also include both partners supporting children within the family.
Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Divorce Attorney in Florida?
If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced Orlando divorce attorney, look no further than Steve Marsee, P.A. With our help, you can explore various options to cease alimony payments. One strategy may involve proving that your ex has entered into a new, supportive relationship. However, there are many other potential strategies to consider, so book your consultation today to discuss your options in more detail.