Modification of Alimony in Boynton Beach, Florida

In a modification of alimony proceeding, where the have parties agreed that alimony is non-modifiable and there is no provision in the Marital Settlement Agreement that it will cease upon remarriage, bridge the gap alimony is non-modifiable. In Taylor v. Lutz, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: “[S]ection 61.08(5)…states: ‘Bridge-the-gap alimony may be awarded to assist a party by providing support to allow the party to make a transition from being married to being single. Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs, and the length of an award may not exceed 2 years. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. 

An award of bridge-the-gap alimony shall not be modifiable in amount or duration.’ (Emphasis added.)…[I]t is well settled that in a dissolution of marriage proceeding, the parties are free to agree to obligations the trial court could not order in the absence of an agreement. See, e.g., O’Malley v. Pan Am. Bank of Orlando, N.A., 384 So. 2d 1258 (Fla. 1980) (holding parties may agree for an alimony obligation to continue beyond the death of the obligor and be enforceable against his estate)…[T]he language in paragraph 2.1 of the parties’ MSA is clear and unambiguous. The alimony agreed to by the parties is non-modifiable and in the amount of $500, to be paid monthly for three (3) years. No provision was included stating the alimony would cease upon Former Wife’s remarriage. Although section 61.08(5) does contain that proviso, that fact is not determinative of our analysis. The unambiguous language of the parties’ agreement, and not the statute, controls here, and because the language of paragraph 2.1 is clear and unambiguous, we ‘must treat the written instrument as evidence of the agreement’s meaning and the parties’ intention.’ Delissio, 821 So. 2dat 353. To do otherwise would most certainly vault form over substance. Underwood, 64 So. 2dat288. Accordingly, we hold that Former Husband’s obligation to pay Former Wife $500 per month for three years did not terminate upon Former Wife’s remarriage. Thus, the trial court erred in failing to order enforcement of paragraph 2.1 of the MSA.”

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

Archives

FindLaw Network