Spousal Support Modification
Lawyers Providing Guidance to Clients in Jacksonville
Alimony may be provided in some Florida divorce cases for economic assistance. The type of spousal support and the amount awarded by the court typically depends on multiple factors, including the need of the receiving party and the other party’s ability to pay. After an agreement or court order for spousal support, modification may be permitted under certain circumstances. At Ellis and Bryant, we recognize that for many people, financial situations can and do change. If you are seeking spousal support modification, our Jacksonville spousal support attorneys can work with you and seek a fair and equitable resolution.
Spousal Support Modification in Florida
In Florida, alimony may be granted by a court order, or by an agreement between the spouses in connection with their divorce, separation, or voluntary property settlement. When the circumstances or the financial ability of either party changes, either spouse may file a motion with the court to modify the duration or the amount of existing spousal support payments, with exceptions. Generally, an award of lump sum alimony or bridge-the-gap alimony may not be modified. In addition, if spousal support was not awarded in the final divorce settlement, a person cannot seek alimony from their former spouse at a later date, under any circumstances.
After consideration of the alleged changed circumstances or finances, the court may increase, decrease, or confirm the amount of spousal support provided for in the original order or agreement. The court may also order that its decision apply retroactively to the date that the action to modify was filed, if necessary. An attorney can guide you through the process of spousal support modification and represent your interests in court.
Modification Due to Supportive Relationship
One of the grounds for modifying alimony payments is the existence of a supportive relationship. If the party receiving alimony resides with another person after the divorce, and the court finds they have a supportive relationship with their co-habitant, the court may reduce the amount of spousal support they receive. A supportive relationship does not include residing with any family member by blood or marriage, or roommates who split rent. Rather, it is a relationship that provides financial support similar to that of a marriage. In some circumstances, the court may terminate an existing award of alimony because of a supportive relationship.
Modification Due to Change in Circumstances
In Florida, spousal support payments may be modified when there has been a permanent, involuntary, and substantial change in circumstances that impacts either a spouse’s need for alimony or a spouse’s ability to pay the existing amount. A few examples of a substantial change may be a health or medical issue, long-term unemployment, a pay increase, large inheritance, or remarriage by the receiving spouse. These circumstances will vary depending on the type of alimony is sought to be modified, as well as other factors. For instance, rehabilitative alimony is awarded to assist a spouse while they are developing skills and education for employment. Failing to comply with the rehabilitative plan may be grounds for modification of alimony.
There are some circumstances that are not grounds for modification of spousal support under Florida law. These include voluntary unemployment, quitting a job and increased expenses due to a new marriage, among others. A divorce attorney can advise you of your options regarding spousal support modification after a change in circumstances.
Discuss Your Situation with a Lawyer in Jacksonville
If a change in circumstances has affected the alimony from your divorce, an attorney can assist you with spousal support modification. At Ellis and Bryant, we handle a full range of family law and divorce issues, including modification of spousal maintenance, child support, and child custody. We can represent people located throughout Duval and Clay Counties, including Jacksonville, Middleburg, Orange Park, Jacksonville Beach, and more. Schedule a free consultation by calling our office at (904) 551-4120 or contacting us online.