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Can Cohabitation Affect Alimony Payments?


The purpose of alimony, also known as spousal support, is to assist a spouse with less earning potential or income during and after divorce proceedings while they adjust to financial independence. One of the underlying assumptions of alimony is that the spouse receiving payments is financially supporting themselves, but what happens when that former spouse begins to cohabitate with someone else? At the Donna Hung Law Group, our experienced Orlando family law attorneys can provide top tier legal advice for this and other issues. To learn more, call or contact our office to schedule a consultation.

Reasons for Changing Alimony

Florida law dictates when a former spouse may petition to reduce or terminate alimony payments. There are three main reasons why alimony may be terminated, with the first being the remarriage of the spouse receiving support payments. The second reason is the death of either spouse and the third reason for terminating alimony is if the support obligations under the divorce settlement are met.

A spouse may also petition the court to reduce the amount of alimony after a divorce is finalized, and in order to do so the petitioning spouse must be able to show that there is a substantial change in circumstances for either party that warrants the change. A substantial change is one that is permanent, material, unanticipated at the time that the divorce was finalized, and significant. One such reason that alimony may be reduced, or even terminated, is when the spouse receiving support begins to cohabitate with another person.

What is Cohabitation?

Cohabitation refers to a supportive relationship between two people who live together that are not related by blood or affinity. Living with a roommate does not constitute cohabitation, as the relationship must be romantic; however, there does not need to be proof of consummation between the couple. In order to determine whether a supportive relationship or cohabitation exists between a couple, the court often considers the following factors:

  • Whether the couple hold themselves out to others as married,
  • If the couple uses the same last name or mailing address,
  • The length of time that the couple has lived together,
  • The extent that the couple has combined their assets or demonstrated financial interdependence,
  • The extent that one person supports the other in the relationship financially,
  • Whether the couple has purchased property together or worked to enhance anything of value together,
  • If the couple has bought real estate,
  • Any explicit or implicit evidence of an agreement regarding property interests and support, and
  • Whether either person has financially supported the children or dependents of the other in the relationship.

Talk to Our Office Now

Do you have questions about whether your cohabitation or the cohabitation of a former spouse could impact alimony payments in the Orlando area? If so, the knowledgeable and experienced Florida family law attorneys at the Donna Hung Law Group are here to help. Call or contact the office today to schedule an initial evaluation of your case now.