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Family law implications of alimony and cohabitation

Once a Florida divorce is finalized, there are still many family law issues to be dealt with. In addition to possible child support and child custody arrangements, there is also the possibility of alimony that has been either agreed upon or ordered by the courts. As time goes by, it is possible that the circumstances under which alimony was granted have changed. In this case, the change in circumstances may indicate a change in status under family law and thus a possible change in alimony support that should be paid.

Remarriage is the primary reason why the necessity for alimony changes. Once the spouse who is receiving alimony remarries, the alimony typically ceases. However, at times, relationships may appear to be everything but a legal marriage. In this case, often referred to as cohabitation, the need for alimony could be questioned.

Changes in alimony status based upon cohabitation often come with a difference of opinion. The former spouse receiving alimony may deny that any change should occur because there is not a legal marriage. The former spouse paying alimony may view the situation differently based on the appearance that the couple is living together the majority of the time or shares financial responsibilities, along with other marriage-like issues.

Many Florida individuals continue on with dating and possibly remarrying after divorce. While this does not typically alter the majority of family law issues, it could possibly alter the need for alimony. Depending upon the length of time alimony is owed and the dollar amount, it may be in the best interest of the former spouse who is paying alimony to seek guidance if cohabitation by the receiving spouse is suspected.

Source: The Huffington Post, How to evaluate if cohabitation has placed alimony at risk, Diane L. Danois, March 21, 2014