Fort Lauderdale, Florida divorce Judge Arthur Birken ruled that Palm Beach Circuit Judge David French should not have to pay his former wife $3,400.00 a month in permanent alimony because she has been living with another man for nearly 20 years. Judge Birken also ordered the former wife to repay $151,000.00 that she received in alimony since August 2006.
Judge David French was divorced from his former wife in 1988. In 2006, Judge French requested that his alimony obligation be abated after the Florida Legislature enacted Florida Statute 61.14(b) which permits modification or termination of alimony to recipients living in a supportive relationship. The trial court denied this request in August 2006.
The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s August 2006 ruling and found that the former wife was in a supportive relationship and should not continue to receive alimony from Judge French
According to Florida Statute, 61.14 (b)(2), in determining whether an existing award of alimony should be reduced or terminated because of an alleged supportive relationship between an obligee and a person who is not related by consanguinity or affinity and with whom the obligee resides, the court shall elicit the nature and extent of the relationship in question. The court shall give consideration, without limitation, to circumstances, including, but not limited to, the following, in determining the relationship of an obligee to another person:
a. The extent to which the obligee and the other person have held themselves out as a married couple by engaging in conduct such as using the same last name, using a common mailing address, referring to each other in terms such as “my husband” or “my wife,” or otherwise conducting themselves in a manner that evidences a permanent supportive relationship.
b. The period of time that the obligee has resided with the other person in a permanent place of abode.
c. The extent to which the obligee and the other person have pooled their assets or income or otherwise exhibited financial interdependence.
d. The extent to which the obligee or the other person has supported the other, in whole or in part.
e. The extent to which the obligee or the other person has performed valuable services for the other.
f. The extent to which the obligee or the other person has performed valuable services for the other’s company or employer.
g. Whether the obligee and the other person have worked together to create or enhance anything of value.
h. Whether the obligee and the other person have jointly contributed to the purchase of any real or personal property.
i. Evidence in support of a claim that the obligee and the other person have an express agreement regarding property sharing or support.
j. Evidence in support of a claim that the obligee and the other person have an implied agreement regarding property sharing or support.
k. Whether the obligee and the other person have provided support to the children of one another, regardless of any legal duty to do so.