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How & Why To Modify Your Alimony Payments

There are a significant number of situations that warrant—or prevent—a modification to alimony payments. Alimony is spousal support—payments made to a former spouse. Florida will not allow alimony to result in the payee (person receiving alimony) having more income than the payor. 

When There Can Be No Modification

When your divorce is finalized, if the court awarded no alimony, it stays that way. Even if your former spouse is financially destitute during the divorce process but comes into a significant amount of money afterward, no changes can be made after a zero-alimony conclusion.

However, it’s not unreasonable that a high-income earner—who has the potential to earn more in the future—may not be employed during the divorce process. Is this a way to avoid alimony? The court may have one spouse pay nominal alimony. The payments could be extremely low, but even small amounts constitute alimony payments. And the door is left open for adjustments to be made in the future—which the court can do.

Making Modifications

After your divorce, it is essential to recognize when is an appropriate time to revisit alimony. Florida requires a significant change in circumstances. These changes may dictate an increase or decrease in alimony. Here are some following reasons why a reduction may occur:

  • Payor has health issues (can impact earning potential)
  • Payor has been unemployed
  • The payee gets remarried or is in a supportive relationship
  • The payor retires

On the other hand, a significant salary increase could justify a modification for more alimony. As would lottery winnings and inheritances. 

Ultimately, these are guidelines and factors. What constitutes a large sum of money? Take the facts to your attorney. She is in the best position to apply the facts to the requirements of the law. 

It is also equally important to know what does not warrant a modification. Most of these are things the payee (person receiving the money) does voluntarily. If the payee quits their job, the payor is likely not responsible for the loss of income. This also applies to if the payee has many costly and unnecessary expenses, e.g., vacations, second houses, or assets. The desire to spend doesn’t usually dictate a change in alimony.

Supportive Relationships

This term was used above. When the payee gets remarried, alimony payments cease. Some may be in a committed relationship where expenses and finances are shared but aren’t legally married. Living together may form a supportive relationship. But this is something that should be discussed with your attorney. 

A supportive relationship is not clear-cut. There is room for interpretation. If the court examines the payee’s relationship for spousal support modifications, have an attorney represent you and your interests in court.

Get in Touch with an Attorney at McKinnon Legal Today

At McKinnon Legal, we appreciate how your circumstances are unique. Our approach to each client’s case is custom-designed to fit their needs. If you need professional legal advice for your alimony or divorce case, contact McKinnon Legal to schedule a consultation.