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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27621
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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I live in Florida. My husband pays alimony to s ex. 2 1/2

Customer Question

I live in Florida. My husband pays alimony to his ex. 2 1/2 years ago she moved in with her boyfriend. They sleep in the same bed and otherwise act as a married couple would. She pays him "rent" and does all the hoysehold chores. They go on trips together, one where they went to babysit his niece and nephew in Canada. Apparently sometimes she pays for the trip, sometimes he does. To me, from looking at Floridas statute on cohabitation and a supportive relationship, they are obviously in one. But the courts have determined otherwise, and have denied reduction or termination of the alimony and to top it off have said it was a frivolous case and has ordered my husband to pay her attorneys fees. I just don't get it at all. Anything you might add? Thank you.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

From what you've said, I'm not sure I get it, either. What did the judge say to support the finding that they're not living together? How much time has passed since the judgement was entered? And why on earth would your husband be ordered to pay attorney's fees?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The original alimony judgement was entered in December 2010. It had to do with determining a "supportive relationship" which from what I've read, simply paying for the other ones meal if they go out to eat justifies supportive. They went back to court this past Tuesday Jan 12. Her lawyer said there was never any reason my husband should have taken her back to court so therefore he should have to pay for her atty fees. A frivolous case, which since the burden is on us to prove everything, there was no other way to do it but go through the courts.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I'm not sure why the judge determined they are not cohabitive. She admitted they have an ongoing sexual relationship
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

If they live together, travel together and share expenses, it seems pretty clear that they're co-habitating. Even if he's just a roommate, that would mean her expenses decreased, and it wouldn't be frivolous to seek a reduction based on that material change.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Your husband has a right to appeal the judge's decision. The bar is high - it's based on whether the judge's decision is against the substantial weight of the evidence. It's hard for me to judge that without knowing what evidence they submitted, but I don't see ANYTHING that says they're not living together.

The Notice of Appeal has to be filed within 30 days after the decision is entered. This handbook has a lot of good information for people who want to represent themselves in appeals court.

http://prose.flabarappellate.org/pdf/ProSe_English_May09.pdf

Check to see if the clerk's office has forms you can use to open an appeal, if you want to go that route. It could also help to have a local attorney review all of the records and evidence that was submitted to give you a firm opinion on what your chances of success would be.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you. I'm thinking that's just what we will do.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

You're welcome. I hope things work out for you.

There is a risk that they'll ask for attorney's fees on appeal, too. Take a look at this article to help determine how likely a court might be to award them.

https://www.floridabar.org/divcom/jn/jnjournal01.nsf/Author/18E07BBC9FB82E8085257B010055DB1D