If your current alimony payment is not meeting your financial needs, you may have legal options available. Florida law allows you to modify certain types of alimony payments whether they were awarded by the court or mutually agreed to. Durational, Permanent, and Rehabilitative alimony can be modified unless the parties have agreed otherwise. When parties have agreed that alimony is non-modifiable, it is quite difficult – but not impossible – to get around that agreement.
Where an alimony payment is subject to modification, Florida law allows for the upward modification of alimony payments based upon a change in circumstance or a change in the financial ability of either party. §61.14(1)(a) Fla. Stat. (2005). Some examples of a substantial change in circumstance include:
- Health issues
- Receiving a large raise or improved employee benefits
- Extended and involuntary unemployment
- Retirement of the person paying alimony
- Recipient getting married
- A substantial inheritance
The Florida Supreme Court has said that a significant increase in the financial status of the paying spouse alone does not necessarily require an increase in the alimony award. Bedell v. Bedell, 583 So.2d 1005 (Fla. 1991). A change in the paying party’s financial position alone can be the basis for an increase in alimony payments in specific cases where it is necessary to provide the recipient with some share of this new found wealth. And although a change in circumstance for the recipient is not explicitly required by the statute, it is generally necessary for a court to award the recipient a modified alimony payment.
This change should be something more than a routine expense. Generally it is one that was unexpected at the end of the marriage and was not foreseeable by any person of average intelligence or education. Andrews v. Andrews, 409 So. 2d 1135 (Fla. 2d D.C.A. 1982). Regular upkeep of the car or a small increase in the property taxes on a home are likely considered routine expenses. However, an unexpected illness or injury, or an involuntary period of unemployment is not routine.
If you feel like your alimony payment should be adjusted in some way, or you have any other questions regarding your divorce, contact Hackworth Law, P.A., for a free case consultation. We’ve handled hundreds of family law matters in the Tampa Bay area and look forward to working with you to ensure your rights are protected. If you would like to contact our office immediately, please use the “Contact Us Now” tab in the upper right hand corner of our website. We appreciate you taking the time and checking out our Tampa Divorce Attorney blog and look forward to working with you in the future.