Alimony is financial support one spouse pays to the other after a divorce. Florida alimony laws are some of the most progressive in the United States.
Section 61.14 of the Florida Statutes explains that most types of alimony can be modified or terminated if:
- there has been an unexpected, involuntary, and/or substantial change in circumstance; and
- this change affects a former spouse’s ability to pay or a former spouse’s need for alimony.
As long as alimony was awarded in the original divorce settlement, Florida law allows for a former spouse to request modification of payments.
Substantial Change in Circumstance
The former spouse seeking an alimony modification must prove the alleged circumstances were not easily foreseen at the time the divorce was finalized. The change in circumstance must also be permanent and involuntary for the former spouse.
Substantial change in circumstance includes:
- health and/or medical issues;
- permanent unemployment; and/or
- a significant raise and/or title change as a result of work, lottery winnings, retirement, medical insurance availability, and remarriage.
There are instances where a change in circumstance will not justify a modification; the court will not recognize the following:
- expenses due to a second marriage;
- cost of living increase;
- a lump sum award or “bridge the gap” alimony;
- voluntarily quitting a job; and
- purposely getting fired from a job.
Petition for Modification of Alimony
For a court to modify an alimony agreement, a Supplemental Petition for Modification must be filed in the same county the original divorce was finalized.
A Supplemental Petition for Modification must include:
- names and addresses of both former spouses;
- date of the original divorce;
- original amount of alimony;
- alimony payment schedule;
- explanation of the circumstances that warrant a modification; and
- new desired alimony amount.
This petition must be signed by a notary public or deputy court clerk before it can be submitted to the court. There are a few other forms that must be filled out with the help of an attorney who specializes in alimony modifications.
Consult Schuttler, Greenberg & Mullins, LLC
If a life event has come up and you need to modify your original alimony agreement, we can help. Our attorneys have over 75 years of combined legal experience and can guide you through the modification process.
Contact our firm online or call us at (561) 336-6082 for a legal consultation.