Saturday, March 10, 2007
It used to be that outside one spouse's substantial change in circumstances regarding either the ability to pay alimony or the ability to be self-supporting, awards of permanent alimony were never terminated, unless one party died, or the receiving spouse re-married. A controversial statute was enacted in January of 2006 here in Florida which alters the rules regarding when alimony can be terminated. Prior to the enactment of Florida Statute Section 61.14 a receiving spouse would not lose their right to their permanent alimony award even if they were living with someone of the opposite sex and were being supported by that person. With this new statute, upon a finding that the receiving spouse has a supportive romantic relationship with a new person, their permanent alimony award will be terminated. There has been a lot of controversy involved with this statute, mostly tied to the fact that people who are receiving permanent alimony are usually people who are not skilled in a profession and do not have the ability to be self-supporting. Therefore, if their alimony is terminated, and they never marry their new boyfriend or girlfriend, and the new relationship terminates, they may not have the ability to support themselves. I still think that this new law is a good one and that it is important to advise your clients accordingly when alimony is awarded.