How Can I Modify Alimony in Florida?
Circumstances can change unexpectedly in anyone’s life. Florida courts recognize that changes are a normal part of life, which is why they allow ex-spouses to request a modification of alimony when there is a substantial change in circumstances.
If you are considering modifying alimony, you should speak with a Tampa family lawyer to help you understand your rights and options, whether you are the payor or supported spouse.
Alimony types and restrictions for modification
Florida law allows parties to modify certain – but not all – types of alimony following a divorce. Pursuant to Section 61.08, Florida Statutes, Florida law recognizes the following types of spousal support:
- Durational alimony
- Permanent alimony
- Rehabilitative alimony
- Bridge-the-gap alimony
Each of them has unique rules and restrictions for modification. Whether or not you can modify your alimony award depends on the type of spousal support and the circumstances that made you want to request a change.
The vast majority of requests for modification of alimony are made by the payor spouse asking the court to reduce the payment amount. However, the receiving spouse has a right to seek a modification of spousal support, too.
How to modify alimony in Florida?
As mentioned earlier, your ability to modify spousal support in Florida depends on the type of alimony that was awarded after your divorce:
- Rehabilitative alimony is modifiable if you can establish a substantial change in circumstances or prove that the other spouse failed to comply with the rehabilitative plan. Most modification requests are brought on the grounds of a change of circumstances. However, in order to successfully modify alimony, you will have to prove that circumstances have changed considerably since the judge issued the final judgment.
- Durational alimony can be modified if the requesting party can prove a substantial change in circumstances, which may include an involuntary loss of employment. However, a judge can only modify the amount of durational alimony, not the length of the award, unless some “exceptional circumstances” apply.
- Permanent alimony is paid to the receiving spouse for an indefinite duration or until the supported spouse remarries or dies. Also, you can modify or terminate permanent alimony if there has been a substantial change in circumstances or the receiving spouse is engaged in a supportive relationship with another individual.
- Bridge-the-gap alimony is the only type of spousal support in Florida that cannot be modified. This type of alimony is usually paid for up to two years from the date of the judgment. It’s not modifiable.
Can alimony be modified retroactively?
Yes, courts in Florida have the discretion to modify or otherwise change alimony either retroactively or prospectively. Also, a court may retroactively award alimony if the payor spouse concealed or failed to fully disclose all of their assets in an attempt to avoid paying spousal support to their ex-spouse.
You should consult with an experienced alimony attorney in Tampa to determine how you can persuade the court to modify alimony retroactively. Schedule a consultation with our family lawyers at HD Law Partners by calling 813-964-7878.