Steps For Modifying Alimony In Florida
Whenever a Florida divorce court awards alimony, whether by agreement or after a contested hearing, the arrangement may still be subject to modification and/or termination. The status quo that existed on the date of your divorce will definitely change over time, and spousal support from the final divorce decree may no longer be workable. For this reason, Florida divorce laws provide a process for modifying alimony based upon changes to a party’s ability to pay, the recipient’s needs – or both. By going through the steps and complying with all legal requirements, it is possible to make adjustments that reflect your new reality.
As with any issues that arise during or after divorce, your first priority should always be consulting with a Dade City alimony lawyer to guide you through modifications. An overview of the steps is also helpful for both payors and recipients who seek to make changes.
- Determine Eligibility: Initially, you should assess the current arrangement for spousal support to figure out whether it is possible to make changes. For instance:
- If the final divorce decree does not include a provision for alimony, there is nothing to modify. You cannot seek to modify that which does not exist.
- When spousal support is based upon agreement by the parties, it is not possible to make changes to alimony that is designated as non-modifiable.
- Eligibility may swing the other direction if the recipient remarries Alimony MUST change, as it terminates by operation of law.
- Even living with another person without the benefit of marriage can cause your alimony to terminate if the payor can establish that you are in a supportive relationship.
- Attempt to Modify Alimony by Agreement: In some cases, a payor and recipient can discuss changes to spousal support and make changes by agreement. This is an ideal option for resolving modification because it does not require a hearing, but the new arrangement must be included in a court order.
- File a Petition for Modification of Alimony: If you cannot reach an agreement, it will be necessary to request the judge to make a determination on modifying alimony. In addition to eligibility considerations, note that you must be able to prove a substantial change in circumstances to justify altering the current support arrangement. This standard requires evidence of a change that was not anticipated at the time alimony was agreed to OR awarded by the court. Examples include:
- The alimony recipient won the lottery, got a substantial raise, or received an inheritance; or
- The payor involuntarily lost a job or developed a disabling medical condition.
Upon filing a petition, the other party will have the opportunity to respond in writing. The court will set the matter for a hearing, which is similar to what transpired during your initial divorce proceedings.
Contact a Dade City, FL Alimony Attorney About Modifications
It is helpful to know how the proceedings work when you are seeking to make changes to alimony, but you should entrust the essential tasks to a skilled lawyer. For more information on how our team can assist with alimony modifications, please contact The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane. You can set up a consultation by calling 352-567-0055 or visiting us online.