A modification of alimony may be granted where: (a) there has been a substantial change in circumstances, (b) the change was not contemplated at the time of the final judgment granting a divorce, and (3) the change is sufficient, material, permanent, and involuntary. In Jarrard v. Jarrard, the Florida Court of Appeal reversed a trial court decision in which the lower court denied the husband’s Supplemental Petition for Modification of Alimony. The appellate court reversed the lower court’s ruling because they found that the husband had met his burden to establish a sufficient, material, permanent and involuntary substantial change of circumstances that was not contemplated at the time of the final judgment granting the divorce.
The parties married in 1970 and were divorced in 2004. When the divorce was granted the husband had a good job in Louisiana. The court awarded alimony payments which were approximately thirty-five percent of this gross income. When he was over sixty years of age, the husband became unemployed. He looked for a job without success until January 2012. The husband accepted a job in Naples, Florida, where the compensation was commission based. He experienced a reduction in his income which was more than fifty percent of what he earned at the time of his divorce. At the time of the modification hearing, the payments for alimony and life insurance exceeded seventy percent of the husband’s monthly income. The Court of Appeal stated that the party requesting a modification must present evidence necessary for the lower court to make the determinations that are essential for relief.
The trial court needs to make factual determinations about the nature and extent of the change in financial circumstances. It needs to make a factual decision about whether the change was anticipated at the time of the final judgment. Finally the court needs to decide whether the change is substantial and whether the change was sufficient, material, permanent, and involuntary. A severe reduction in income for nearly a year, with no end in sight is considered to be permanent for purposes of granting a modification.
If you have questions about modification of alimony in Jupiter, Florida, contact at Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 651-7273.