Modification of Alimony

Most types of alimony are not set in stone. Alimony is based on the situation of the parties at the time of the award. When a career change, shift in income, or other new circumstance arises, the alimony award may no longer be realistic. In such cases, it may be necessary to petition the court for an increase, reduction, or termination of alimony.

Many different life circumstances affecting the recipient and the payor may warrant an alimony modification. For example, an upward or downward modification may be based on a:

  • Salary increase or decrease
  • Loss of a job
  • Retirement
  • Health issues
  • Remarriage, cohabitation, or entry into a supportive relationship

Establishing or contesting an alimony modification requires numerous legal steps and court appearances. As in divorce proceedings, it is critical to present relevant and detailed evidence to meet the legal standards pertaining to alimony modifications. It is important to obtain professional guidance from an attorney who is familiar with and experienced in alimony modifications.

Drawing on Our Legal and Financial Acumen to Present Clients’ Cases

At the Lane Law Firm, P.A., we possess the experience, financial acumen, and sophistication necessary to successfully prosecute and defend modification actions. With over 30 years of experience in the legal and financial realm, our clients receive prompt and effective legal representation in the most efficient, cost-effective manner.

Our law firm is dedicated to excellence in all aspects of the practice of law. We adhere to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity as we pursue the best possible outcome for our clients.

Florida Law Governing Modification of Alimony

When a payor is required to make alimony payments and the financial ability or the circumstances of either of the parties changes, the affected party may apply to the circuit court for an order increasing or decreasing the amount of alimony.  The court has jurisdiction to make orders as equity requires.  In rendering its decision, the trial court is directed to take into consideration the changed financial ability or the changed circumstances of the parties.

A supplemental petition for modification of alimony may be filed in a variety of venues.  It may be filed in the circuit: (i) in which either of the parties resides, (ii) where either of the parties resided on the date that they entered into a marital settlement agreement, (iii) where the marital settlement agreement was executed, or (iv) where the final judgment of dissolution was entered by the court.

There are three requirements to obtain a modification of alimony.  First, there must be a substantial change of circumstances.  Second, the change of circumstances must not be contemplated by the parties at the time that the final judgment of dissolution was entered. Finally, the change in circumstances must be involuntary, material, sufficient and permanent in nature.

A trial court may modify an alimony award retroactively to the date on which the supplemental petition for modification of alimony was filed. 

Florida Law Governing Cohabitation and Supportive Relationships

A court may reduce or terminate an alimony award, when one of the parties cohabits with another person and is in a supportive relationship.  The burden of proof is on the payor to prove that a supportive relationship exists.  A trial court is required by statute to examine the following factors to determine whether a party who is cohabiting is in a supportive relationship:

First, do the parties hold themselves out as a married couple?

Second, do they conduct themselves in a manner that evidences a permanent relationship?

Third, how long have they resided together?

Fourth, do they pool their income?

Fifth, have they pooled their assets?

Sixth, have the parties completely or partially supported each other?

Seventh, have they performed services that are valuable to each other?

Eighth, have they performed services that are valuable to each other's employer or company?

Ninth, have they worked together to create something of value, or to enhance something of value?

Tenth, have they contributed to the purchase of property?

Eleventh, do the parties have an agreement concerning support and and property sharing?

Twelfth, have the parties provided support to each other's children?

Contact an Attorney to Modify Alimony or to Contest a Modification

To learn more about how we can assist you in modifying alimony or contesting a proposed modification, call our law firm at (561) 363-3400 or contact us online. We provide consultations within 24 hours of the time that you call.

Our firm has convenient locations in Palm Beach Gardens, Wellington, and Boca Raton, Florida.

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