A Florida court may award an ex-spouse alimony, or spousal support, in a divorce case. A court may also modify alimony as long as the original divorce decree granted alimony. A Florida court has jurisdiction to make orders affecting a prior award of alimony as equity requires, with due regard to changed circumstances or the financial ability of the parties.
If neither spouse is awarded alimony in the final divorce decree, a court will lose its jurisdiction over the issue of alimony. This cannot be changed after the fact. Also, a prenuptial agreement may provide that alimony is not modifiable.
Under Fla. Stat. § 61.14, alimony may be modified or terminated if there is an unexpected, substantial, material, and involuntary change in the circumstances of either party, not contemplated at the time alimony was awarded, that affects an ex-spouse’s ability to pay, or an ex-spouse’s need for alimony. Florida judges have discretion in determining whether a substantial change of circumstances has occurred to merit decreasing, increasing, or confirming the amount of alimony.
Alimony predetermined by contract, such as a prenuptial agreement, may be modified provided that the agreement does not contain any waiver of the modification of alimony. It is crucial to enlist a qualified Florida family law attorney to assist you in preparing and drafting a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that clearly addresses the issue of alimony and its modification or termination.
To ensure that a Florida family law court retains jurisdiction over the issue of alimony, the parties may agree to a nominal alimony award. Nominal alimony is useful in situations where a party is unable to pay alimony at the time of the divorce decree and the other party wants to ensure that he or she may modify the award of alimony in the future if and when circumstances substantially change.
As mentioned previously, before you can file for a modification of alimony in Florida you must qualify by having a substantial change in circumstances. Here are some examples of scenarios where a substantial change of circumstances may exist, thus allowing for an increase or reduction in alimony:
- Obligor or obligee receives a substantial increase in wages;
- Obligor or obligee receives gifts, inheritance, or lottery winnings;
- Availability of medical insurance;
- Involuntary events such as an obligor’s long-term decreased ability to pay, or an illness which may prevent an obligor from working;
- Voluntary events such as retirement by an obligor; and
- Remarriage of an obligee.
The Men’s Divorce Law Firm can guide you through the confusion of modifying an alimony award and pursue a path that is the most beneficial for you in a difficult situation. Contact the Men’s Divorce Law Firm to schedule a consultation with a caring professional, and aggressive advocate for men’s rights in divorce, child timesharing (custody), and paternity matters. Call 321-DIVORCE today to schedule a consultation and follow our Twitter page for more insights about divorce and family law.