Modification of Alimony in Palm Beach, FL

In a modification of alimony proceeding, where the possibility of change is known at the time of the final judgment, but the amount of the actual change that occurred was not known at that time, a modification may be permitted. In Garvey v. Garvey the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: “Whether it be a change of health or any other curveball life indiscriminately throws, predictability of the occurrence is the cornerstone to any analysis. In Mendes v. Mendes, 947 So. 2d 450 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006), this court recognized the “well-established principle that modification may not be based upon factors affecting income known to the parties at the time a final judgment is entered.” Id. at 452 (citation omitted). “The reason for this doctrine is an obvious one: if the likelihood of a particular occurrence was one of the factors which the court or the parties considered in initially fixing the award in question, it would be grossly unfair subsequently to change the result simply because the anticipated event has come to pass.” Jaffee v. Jaffee, 394 So. 2d 443,445 (Fla. 3d DCA 1981) (emphasis added).

…[A]s in Mendes, while the parties may have been aware of a particular possibility at the time they entered into the settlement agreement, this does not equate to knowledge of the “character of the actual change and consequences to [the former husband’s medical condition along with the resultant effect on his] income.” Id. Additionally, there is no indication in the record that at the time he entered into the settlement agreement, the parties considered the possibility that the former husband’s condition would deteriorate to the extent he would no longer be able to work. ..A First District case also supports the proposition that knowledge of a possibility, standing alone, is insufficient to preclude a modification of alimony when the possibility materializes or otherwise comes to fruition… In Bedell v. Bedell, 523 So. 2d 166 (Fla. 1st DCA 1988)…The trial court found that the wife’s inheritance was contemplated and thus could not support a modification. Id. The First District disagreed and opined: Initially, we agree that the possibility of the wife receiving a substantial inheritance from her parents may well have been contemplated by the parties when they entered into the settlement agreement…Notwithstanding that the parties contemplated that the wife might receive an inheritance from her parents, the actual receipt of the inheritance and the amount received were nonetheless neither certain nor guaranteed; at best they could be only fairly described as an expectancy.”

To speak with a divorce attorney in Palm Beach, Florida, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 651-7273. 

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