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Spousal support or alimony can be a delicate topic for many estranged spouses. Most of these grievances stem from a perceived opinion that these payments are unfair. Alimony is used to help a spouse with limited resources meet their daily obligations without completely changing their lifestyle. The goal of alimony or spousal support is to give the spouse without the ability to maintain their quality of life the means to care for themselves once the marriage ends.

Your alimony could be modified in both amount and duration if your settlement agreement didn’t lock the conditions of all support payments once your divorce was finalized. The changes are open for renegotiation, but a modification request needs to be specific and warranted based on a condition change, for example, if the receiving spouse is no longer in need. If the receiving spouse has a new job or a windfall of resources, then a modification or termination could be granted.

3 Grounds for Terminating Alimony in Florida

Your alimony payments may qualify for termination instead of modification. These are not automatic, and you would need to file the appropriate paperwork. You can work with an attorney to petition for termination of alimony based on three types of claims.

In Florida, alimony payments can be ended in one of the following ways:

  • Voluntary Termination: The quickest and most efficient way to end alimony payments is by including an end date or condition of termination in your divorce agreement. A divorcing couple can settle the matter before the first payment is sent by including details of how the payments will end. Couples can negotiate the terms of alimony payments and voluntarily set the termination date.
  • Statutory Termination: Florida law allows for statutory terminations of alimony, so when certain triggering events occur, the payments can end automatically after a divorce. For example, if either the spouse collecting alimony dies or the payor spouse dies, alimony stops. It cannot be inherited. Another statutory termination trigger would be the remarriage of the receiving spouse. If the receiving spouse marries again, then payments would end.
  • Termination of Alimony Due to Cohabitation: Alimony payments can also end if the receiving spouse cohabitates with someone else. Florida law defines cohabitation as a living arrangement where the receiving spouse receives financial assistance from living with another person they are not related to by blood or marriage.

Termination due to cohabitation can be a difficult means of termination to prove, so Florida law states that cohabitation has specific characteristics, like:

  • Shared mailing address with another person, not a relative
  • A long-term living situation
  • The cohabitants are financially linked
  • Sharing property or a financial link that suggests a committed partnership
  • Any other conditions that suggest a committed financially supportive relationship

If the evidence supports a cohabitation termination, the court will allow the payor spouse to petition for a termination of alimony on these grounds. Basically, alimony is a form of financial support, so ending these support payments becomes a matter of proving the need no longer exists or that someone else is providing the necessary support for the receiving spouse.

Reasonable and Measured Divorce Guidance

The attorneys at Mitchell & West LLC can help you navigate the confusing details of your support payments to ensure that you are being treated fairly. If you and your ex-spouse have a cooperative relationship, then you can work together to determine how your alimony payments should end.

Call us today at (305) 783-3301 to schedule a consultation, or you can use our online contact form to request more information.