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Spousal Support Modifications in Florida

Alimony1

Spousal support (also commonly referred to as “alimony” or “spousal maintenance”) is often awarded by family law judges in Florida as part of divorce settlement orders when one spouse is left in need of financial support upon getting divorced while the other spouse is enjoying substantially more income. When determining whether or not to award spousal support, Florida judges take a variety of different factors into consideration including, but not limited to:

  • The financial resources at each spouse’s disposal,
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the couple during their marriage,
  • The length of the couple’s marriage,
  • Each spouse’s sacrifices and contributions to the marriage, and
  • Each spouse’s educational background, employability, and earning capacity.

Judges in Florida try to issue spousal support awards that are justifiable and fair given each spouse’s financial circumstances at the time of the couple’s divorce. However, the problem is that spousal support awards are often in effect for many years and as time passes,  the financial circumstances of the ex-spouses may change. This frequently causes spousal support awards that were once reasonable to no longer be tenable later on down the road after the parties’ financial circumstances have materially changed.

Materially Changed Circumstances 

Most spousal support awards in Florida can be modified if either spouse experiences a material financial change in circumstances, unless the issuing judge (or agreement of the parties) specifically made the spousal support award at issue non-modifiable. Under code section 61.14(1)(a) of the Florida Statutes, either ex-spouse may petition the court to either increase or decrease the amount of support provided for in an alimony award if one or both ex-spouses’ circumstances or finances have changed. Judges in Florida have a substantial amount of discretion determining whether or not to modify a spousal support award, but they will typically only issue a modification if the material change in circumstances is both permanent (at least for the foreseeable future) and involuntary. Examples of qualifying material financial changes in circumstance include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Long-term loss of employment,
  • Disability,
  • Health issues,
  • Retirement,
  • Inheritance,
  • Winning the lottery, or
  • Increased income via a raise or a new job.

On the flip side, a request to modify a spousal support award in Florida will generally be denied if the change in circumstances resulted from the alimony payor remarrying, voluntarily quitting his/her job, or intentionally getting fired. 

Let Us Help You with Your Case 

If you are interested in petitioning the court to modify a Florida spousal support award experienced family law attorney David Hirschberg is here to help. Here at the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg, P.A. we are committed to providing top-notch legal representation to each and every one of our clients. Whether you are filing for divorce, fighting for visitation rights, or seeking to modify the terms of a spousal support award we will tirelessly fight for your legal rights every step of the way. To find out more about what our firm can do for you, contact our Boca Raton office today at (561) 288-8620.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/Sections/0061.14.html

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