In a modification of alimony case, a payor’s alimony obligation can be reduced when the recipient voluntarily reduces their needs. In a recently decided case captioned Regan v. Regan, the trial court granted the Husband’s petition for modification. The trial court permitted a reduction of the Husband’s alimony obligation from $9,000 per month to $7,800 a month. When the parties were divorced, they agreed that the Husband would pay $9,000 per month. The wife also received retirement accounts and investment accounts as part of the settlement. After the divorce, the wife significantly reduced her expenses by moving to another state, selling the marital house, and purchasing a smaller home. The trial court found that these reductions constituted a substantial change of circumstances and warranted a modification of alimony.
The Florida Court of Appeal held that where a party is required by the court to make alimony payments and the financial ability of either of the parties changes, either party is entitled to apply to the court for a modification of alimony. The trial court has the authority to make changes that equity requires, taking into account the parties’ changed financial ability or the circumstances of the parties. The trial court has the authority to increase or decrease alimony. In order for a modification to be granted there must be a substantial change in circumstances that was not contemplated at the time of the divorce which is material, sufficient, involuntary and permanent. The involuntary aspect has been applied where a party’s ability to pay is reduced. Where a recipient voluntarily reduces his or her living expenses, a reduction in alimony may also be granted. Where, as here, the recipient spouse’s expenses are reduced by more than one half as a result of her reducing the size of her home and moving out-of-state, the Husband’s alimony obligation may be reduced.
To speak with a modification of alimony attorney in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 363-3400.