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.