Florida Alimony Bill – Cohabitation

Florida is considering changing its statute on alimony to stop payments if the recipient is cohabitating with a person of the opposite sex. The bill passed in a House committee yesterday and goes now to the full House. Here’s an article about it in the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Support for the legislation is breaking down along gender lines, with most men (who are overwhelmingly the payers of alimony) favoring it, and most women (who are overwhelmingly the receivers of alimony) opposing it.

The bill would change Florida law on alimony to resemble that of my home state of Alabama, where cohabitation with a person of the opposite sex automatically puts a stop to alimony. The problem for alimony payers is proving cohabitation.

Our courts in Alabama have said that it takes more than showing a sexual relationship, and it takes more than showing someone has spent the night. Instead, the proof must establish a residential pattern. Typically, that involves proving that the person received mail at the residence, stored clothing there, ate meals there habitually, parked his or her vehicle there, and generally spent leisure time there. And of course, anyone who wants to prove this must gather and preserve all the necessary evidence before filing anything, because filing to stop alimony on the grounds of cohabitation is the quickest, surest way to end cohabitation.

Think of it as a marital investigators’ full employment bill.