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How to Modify Alimony

Alimony, or spousal support (as it’s referred to in Florida law), helps a spouse transition from married to single life after a divorce. Spousal support payments are separate from child support payments and exist to assist a lesser-earning spouse in getting back on their feet after the divorce. Spousal support isn’t granted automatically in every divorce case. When filing for divorce, you must request spousal support payments as part of your petition. There are several types of spousal support, including bridge-the-gap, durational, and rehabilitative. If your circumstances change after the divorce is finalized, you may need to adjust your spousal support payments. While you cannot change the type of alimony you receive, you may be able to change the amount and length of time payments must be made. Below, we discuss how to modify spousal support after a Florida divorce. 

When is Spousal Support Awarded? 

To be granted spousal support, you must prove you have the financial need for it and that your ex can make the proposed payments. Your standard of living, marital assets, and each spouse’s contributions to the household are considered when determining the amount and type of alimony payments awarded. 

Eligibility to Modify Spousal Support Payments

You can only request to modify a spousal support payment order under specific circumstances. These situations must be permanent, involuntary, and substantial for a modification order to be granted. In all cases, spousal support payments must have been an original part of the divorce decree. You cannot request spousal support for the first time after the divorce is final. In addition, only durational and rehabilitative alimony can be modified. 

Reasons to Modify Spousal Support Payments

There are several reasons you may want to modify spousal support payments. These include:

  • A significant income change, such as job loss or retirement.
  • Changes to your partner’s lifestyle, such as being in a committed relationship or remarriage. 
  • Failure to adhere to the current payment plan. 
  • Medical diagnosis or emergencies. 
  • Incarceration. 

How to Modify Spousal Support 

Before attempting to modify an alimony order, you’ll need to determine whether you’re eligible based on the factors listed above. Then, you will file a Supplemental Petition of Modification with the family court that processed the final divorce decree. In the petition, you’ll need to explain why you’d like the order to be updated and detail the change that occurred to warrant the modification. You’ll also need to present how you want the support order to change and whether this modification will be temporary or permanent. 

After the petition is filed, your ex-spouse will be served. Your ex will have 20 days to respond. If they disagree with the modification terms, they may file a counter-petition. Then, you and your spouse will negotiate and attempt to come to an agreement through methods like mediation. You will then complete a disclosure and paperwork with the proposed changes. After this, a final hearing will be scheduled, and the judge will grant or deny the proposed changes. If mediation fails, a judge will make the final determination. If your ex-spouse doesn’t respond to the petition, a d fault judgment may be awarded.  

Divorce Filing and Modifications with Peppler Law, P.A. 

Divorce can be complicated and contentious. Don’t go through the process alone. Have an experienced family attorney, like Peppler Law, P.A., by your side to ensure the most favorable outcome for you and your family. We will work with you to help you get the assistance you need to transition from married to single life. Call our Oviedo, FL, office today to see how we can help you file for divorce. 

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