Can Spousal Support Be Modified After a Florida Divorce?
This is a common question raised by either party (the one receiving support or the one paying support) in a divorce. The simple answer is yes, Florida Statutes does allow for modification or even termination of most types of spousal support when it can be shown that there has been a substantial, unexpected, or involuntary change in the circumstances of either of the former spouses. That change must be one that affects either the former spouse’s ability to pay, or the other former spouse’s need. This can become a very complicated and contentious situation and before considering an approach to the court for a modification, it is very important that you seek legal advice. One of your first steps should be to seek the counsel of the attorneys of In Law We Trust, P.A., who specialize in divorce for men.
It Depends on the Type of Support Awarded at the Time of the Divorce
Unless the spouses have a written agreement about when alimony ends or under what circumstances it can be modified, when and how an award can be modified depends on the type of support.
Bridge-the-gap award is not modifiable under any circumstance
Rehabilitative alimony may be modified if the recipient fails to comply with the rehabilitative plan or completes the plan early
Durational alimony and permanent alimony are modifiable
It is very important to know that there must be support awarded at the time of the divorce in order to request a modification. If no support was awarded at the time of divorce, you can’t go back and modify the judgment to get support.
What the Modification Process Entails
In order to open a modification case, you must qualify by having a “Substantial Change in Circumstances.” This means that a change has occurred that was not anticipated at the time the support was ordered by the court. The change must be permanent, involuntary, and material. Again, various types of support have different rules on modification. Some are designated as non-modifiable support awards; some are completely modifiable at any time, while others can only be modified in amount, or in duration (end date). These are important term to identify with regard to your support as included in your original agreement. Seeking this change is a process very similar to the original divorce and includes serving a petition on your ex-spouse, financial disclosure, negotiation, and possibly a trial if there is no agreement reached.
Seek the Expertise of In Law We Trust, P.A.
It can be a long, time consuming, and nerve wracking process to seek a modification to spousal support or to defend against a petition for one. Remember though, it can also be well worth your while if your needs or financial ability has changed significantly since the final judgment. When you work with the attorneys of In Law We Trust, P.A. we will ensure that your final judgement has been carefully worded and that you are financially protected in the case of future unforeseen situations. But if something unforeseen does occur, we will counsel you through all of your legal options and advise on how we can move forward together to protect and fight for your best interests.
Call The Family Law Experts Men Trust (813) 415-3510
In Law We Trust, P.A. is a premier firm of divorce lawyers representing men in family law proceedings. We are uniquely positioned to assist our clients with the challenges men face in Florida’s court system. Call us today and get the proper representation men need and deserve.