Modification of Alimony FAQs

1. Under what circumstances will the court permit me to increase or decrease the amount of alimony?
When the parties enter into an agreement for the payment of alimony, or when a party is required by court order to make alimony payments, and the circumstances or the financial ability of either party changes, either party may apply to the circuit court for an order decreasing or increasing the amount of alimony, and the court has jurisdiction to make orders as equity requires, with due regard to the changed circumstances or the financial ability of the parties. In making a determination, the court will look at whether a substantial change in the financial circumstances of the parties has occurred, whether this change was not contemplated at the time of the final judgment of dissolution, and whether this change is sufficient, material, involuntary and permanent in nature.

2. What if my ex-spouse moves in with another person?

Florida law allows for the modification or elimination of spousal support after the payee begins to cohabitate with another person. This type of modification is based on many factors, including the amount of time the couple have lived together and the degree to which they have intermingled their assets and purchases. Given the complexity of these cases, it is important that you move forward with the assistance of a skilled family law attorney.

3. Can I make a verbal agreement to modify my alimony payments?

If you are paying spousal support and have encountered financial troubles, you may be tempted to approach your ex-spouse directly to deal with the issue. Even if you have a respectful and amicable relationship with your ex, verbally agreeing to a temporary or permanent reduction in payments is never a good idea. Such an agreement is unlikely to hold up in court, meaning you may in the future be asked to repay the full amount listed in the original spousal support agreement.

If you have suffered a significant change in circumstances and you are no longer able to make your spousal support payments, it is best to speak to an attorney about obtaining a legal modification through the Florida court system.

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