Sometimes, changed circumstances evolve after divorce that warrant a downward modification of alimony / spousal support. Such examples include the payor becoming disabled or being afflicted with a prolonged illness, the payor’s involuntary loss of a job or an involuntary reduction in income, the Payee’s [the person who receives the alimony] subsequent re-marriage; the Payee’s financial position changes for the better, the Payee is involved in a supportive relationship absent a re-marriage, or the Payor is about to retire at an appropriate age in light of his or her profession / occupation. When a change in circumstances makes ongoing payment of alimony at a certain level difficult, the paying ex-spouse may ask the Florida circuit court to reduce the amount paid. Or, the recipient might have had a change in circumstances that would justify a reduction such as a drop in expenses, a new job with a raise or an increase in available assets that would justify reducing the alimony payments to him or her. The state statute says that the court can modify an alimony award “as equity requires, giving due regard to the changed circumstances or the financial ability of the parties …” In other words, the court looks primarily at whether a reduction would be fair. The payor may disagree with how the recipient spends the money, but that is normally not enough for the arrangement to be inequitable for purposes of reducing the alimony obligation. Likewise, other behavior on the part of the recipient with which the payor disapproves, including a dispute over visitation, is usually not grounds for reducing payments. However, if the parties agreed the alimony is non-modifiable, then the court cannot reduce the alimony no matter how compelling the circumstances justifying the reduction.
If you are paying alimony, and want to address a modification of that support obligation, please feel free to contact our office for consultation, at (954) 587-2244. Thank you.