Experienced South Florida


Supportive relationships: Alimony is fine, but double support is trouble

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2023 | Alimony, Cohabitation, Family Law

This is the last in a series of posts reviewing the main provisions of Florida’s new alimony reform bill that took effect on July 1, 2023. Today we consider changes to Florida alimony law concerning supportive relationships.

Basically, the statute before amendment gave the court discretion to reduce or eliminate alimony when the recipient (also called a payee or obligee) entered into a supportive relationship with a third party. The reasoning was that an alimony obligee shouldn’t be able to continue to receive spousal support from a previous marriage after they have moved on to a new marriage-like relationship that includes combining finances or in which the new partner financially supports the ex-spouse of the obligor.

The revisions to the law add more definition to the concept of a supportive relationship as well as tweak certain requirements.

You can only have your eggs in one basket at a time

A major change is that while before the court had discretion to reduce or terminate alimony because of a supportive relationship, now if the judge finds the existence of a supportive relationship, they MUST reduce or eliminate the payments. The court no longer has discretion to leave the award as is or increase it.

Another big revision is that while previously to be in a supportive relationship the payee had to have lived with the new partner, that requirement has been removed. A relationship for this purpose can be sufficiently supportive financially even without cohabitation. The reform bill also clarifies that the supportive relationships of concern are those where payees are not related to their new partner by blood or through marriage.

What must the parties prove?

If the payor wants relief from payments because of their ex-spouse’s involvement in a new supportive relationship, the payor must prove that a supportive relationship exists now or did during the 365 days prior to the filing of the petition for divorce (or separation or modification). If the alimony obligor establishes the supportive relationship, the recipient may try to prove that the initial or modified award should still not be lower, reduced or terminated.

Nature of a supportive relationship

In making this decision, the judge must reconsider all the relevant factors required in an initial alimony decision as well as several focusing on the supportive relationship, including:

  • Conduct of the couple implying that they are married or otherwise in a “permanent supportive relationship”
  • How long they may have lived together
  • Blending of assets or income, joint accounts or other signs of “financial interdependence”
  • Financial support of one to the other, including paying their debts
  • And others

We will watch with interest how Florida judges interpret the new provisions about supportive relationships in the context of alimony and report back on developments.



The LAW OFFICES OF FORREST & Forrest, PLLC represents individuals in Fort Lauderdale in high-asset divorce matters. Daniel Forrest is board-certified family lawyer and mediator serving the South Florida area.

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