Modification Of Alimony In Florida
In a significant portion of divorce cases, it’s not uncommon for changes to occur regarding the personal, professional, and/or financial circumstances of one or both parties. No matter the cause of the change in circumstance, divorced spouses typically require modification of awarded alimony, which may require a decrease, an increase, or cessation of alimony payments. If you’re considering filing for a modification to spousal support due to a change in circumstance — whether you are the paying party or the receiving party — it’s important that you contact a family law firm with the experience and skill required to protect your rights. Schedule a consultation today.
Florida’s Alimony Modification Statute
The State of Florida’s governing document regarding alimony, Florida Statute § 61.08, has specific categories of alimony each with its own restrictions for modification. While most actions for alimony modifications are brought by the paying spouse requesting to reduce his or her obligation, an increasing number of spousal support modification petitions are being filed by the receiving spouse to increase the alimony amount paid to them.
How Can Alimony Be Modified?
The easiest way to understand alimony modification laws is to determine whether the types of alimony available may be adjusted or modified, such as the following. For more information about modification laws regarding alimony, contact a Sarasota divorce attorney.
- Bridge-The-Gap Alimony
- Rehabilitative Alimony
- Durational Alimony
- Permanent Alimony
Rehabilitative alimony is designed to allow the receiving spouse to establish the capacity of self-support. In other terms, the spouse is rehabilitated, and now able to be self-sufficient. The structure of rehabilitative alimony makes permanent and/or durational alimony impossible. Rehabilitative alimony can be modified based on a substantial change in circumstances or noncompliance with the rehabilitative plan. This means that if something has changed dramatically since the final judgment, and such change was unexpected at the time of the final judgment, the award of rehabilitative alimony may be revoked altogether.
Durational alimony is awarded for a specific range of time as decided by the Florida courts. As with rehabilitative alimony, a substantial change in circumstances — such as an unforeseen loss of a job, change to disability, or change to financial circumstances — justifies a modification or change. A key distinction of durational alimony in Florida is that it can be modified by the amount as opposed to duration. Florida’s alimony statute does give some leeway for modifying the length of durational alimony, but it requires exceptional circumstances.
Permanent alimony is the easiest form of alimony to modify in Florida family courts. As the name implies, permanent alimony is usually awarded for the entire life-term of the receiving party or until the receiving party remarries. The Florida Statute for permanent alimony states that the traditional substantial change in circumstances grounds for modification applies. It also adds that permanent alimony can be awarded if the other spouse has entered into a supportive relationship. If you need more information about how to file a petition for modifying a permanent alimony award, schedule a consultation today with our firm.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to make easier the transition from married to single life. Because it aims to support a former spouse by helping him or her resettle, it is usually established for no longer than two years from the date in which the support was granted. To be valid, bridge-the-gap alimony follow extremely specific standards and it often involves thorough investigation on part of both the paying and receiving spouse. According to Florida law, bridge-the-gap alimony is not modifiable due to its limited duration.
Do I Need A Lawyer To File For Alimony Support?
Modifying alimony agreements can be a complex and technical process. As with all legally binding documents, alimony agreements require keen research, through investigation, and adherence to strict deadlines. Due to the difficult nature of court order modifications, it’s highly important that anyone who seeks to file for modifications to his or her alimony order contact an experienced family law attorney. We can provide you with sound advice and knowledgeable counsel for a wide range of family law matters, including matters such as modifications for child support, child custody and visitation, and more. Contact us today.
Can A Court Retroactively Modify Alimony?
In the State of Florida, family courts have the discretion to modify or adjust court-ordered alimony by either by retroactively increasing or decreasing the alimony to the date in which the party seeking the modification filed the petition for alimony modification. The courts may retroactively award alimony if a spouse fails to fully disclose and provide the professional value determination of marital assets, debts, and property during the divorce for the purpose of avoiding having to pay temporary or other forms of spousal support.