Can You Modify Alimony in Florida?

Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is a court-ordered payment from one spouse to another after divorce. When circumstances significantly change, however, either party can petition the court to take a second look at the existing alimony order and modify it to account for the new set of circumstances.

Requirements for Modifying Alimony

Yes, alimony can be modified in Florida, but certain conditions must be met. The process involves petitioning the court for a modification and demonstrating a substantial change in circumstances since the original alimony order.

Substantial changes in circumstances can include:

  • Loss of employment or reduced income: If the paying spouse experiences a significant decrease in income, they may request a modification.
  • Increase in expenses: If the recipient spouse's expenses increase significantly, such as due to illness or disability, they may seek a modification.
  • Remarriage or cohabitation: If the recipient spouse remarries or enters into a supportive relationship akin to marriage, the paying spouse may request a modification or termination of alimony.
  • Changes in health: If either spouse experiences a significant decline in health affecting their ability to work or support themselves, a modification may be warranted.
  • Retirement: If the paying spouse reaches retirement age and experiences a reduction in income, they may seek a modification of alimony.

Importantly, the party seeking the modification must file a petition with the court. Both parties are required to provide financial documentation and attend a hearing to present evidence supporting their case.

Factors Considered in Alimony Modification

When considering a modification of alimony in Florida, the court will examine various factors to determine if modification is equitable.

Some of the most important factors the court considers include these:

  • Financial circumstances: Any changes in the financial circumstances of either party since the original alimony order.
  • Length of the marriage: The duration of the marriage and whether the alimony award was based on a specific term or until further order of the court.
  • Ability to pay: The paying spouse's ability to continue making alimony payments based on their current financial situation.
  • Recipient's need: The recipient spouse's financial needs and whether they have made efforts to become self-sufficient since the divorce.

Keep in mind that requesting a modification isn’t a guarantee of receiving one, and there is a risk that the court could rule in contradiction to the petitioner. For example, a petition to terminate alimony could potentially lead to an increase in alimony if the judge finds that the current alimony order isn’t sufficient.

Do You Need Help with Alimony Modification?

While many people believe alimony orders are generally set in stone, the reality is that these can be modified under the right circumstances. If you’ve experienced a significant change to your financial situation, or your ex-spouse has, you should consult with a family lawyer to explore your options for alimony modification.

Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office has the legal experience necessary to help you with any matter involving alimony. We encourage you to reach out to us to schedule an appointment, during which you can learn more about us and how we can assist you.

Contact us online now to get started.


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