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Termination or Modification of Alimony

Miami Attorneys Representing People in Divorce Proceedings

It is not uncommon for a married couple to earn disparate incomes, and while unequal earnings typically do not cause concern during a marriage, divorce often leaves the lesser-earning spouse in a financially disadvantaged position. In such situations, the courts may deem it appropriate to grant alimony. Although the courts carefully consider whether to grant alimony and what amount is suitable, circumstances can change, prompting people to seek an adjustment in their support order. If you have questions regarding termination or modification of alimony, it is prudent to consult an attorney regarding your rights. Miami attorney Sandy T. Fox is a Florida Bar Board Certified Specialist in Marital & Family Law, who is adept at helping people obtain changes to their alimony orders, and if he represents you, he will work tirelessly to help you seek your desired outcome.

Grounds for Termination or Modification of Alimony

The Florida legislature is mindful of the fact that parties’ resources and needs may fluctuate over time, and alimony obligations may need to be adjusted to reflect the parties’ new positions. As such, they passed legislation permitting alimony modifications. Specifically, pursuant to Florida Statute 61.14, either party subject to an alimony order or agreement can seek a modification of the terms of their rights or obligation. The court will only grant modification requests if the party seeking the request can demonstrate that there has been a substantial and permanent change in circumstances or financial ability. Notably, the change may relate to the party requesting the alteration or the party opposing it. Examples of changes that may be grounds for granting a request for a modification include job loss, increased income for the party receiving alimony, or a change in either party’s health that impacts their ability to work. Usually, a change must last at least six months to be considered permanent. Additionally, requests for modifications will only be granted for rehabilitative alimony. The law does not permit modifications of bridge-the-gap alimony.

Florida Statute 61.14 also requires the courts to terminate or reduce alimony awards if they find that the party receiving alimony lives with someone with whom they have a financially supportive relationship. The party seeking the modification must show by a preponderance of the evidence that a supportive relationship exists. In other words, the evidence must establish that it is more likely to be true than not. The courts will consider numerous factors to determine whether a supportive relationship exists, including the extent to which the person receiving support and the individual they live with hold themselves out as a married couple or otherwise present themselves in a way that demonstrates a permanent supportive relationship, the amount of time they have lived together, and the extent to which they have pooled their income or assets. The courts will also examine whether they have purchased any property together or have an implied or express agreement regarding property sharing and whether they provide financial support to one another’s children.

Termination or Modification of Alimony Following Death or Remarriage

Other grounds for alimony modifications include death, remarriage, and retirement. In other words, if a party receiving permanent or durational alimony remarries, the alimony will end. The remarriage of a party required to pay alimony will not impact their obligation, however. If either party dies, it will terminate the alimony obligation as well. Finally, the party paying alimony has the right to seek termination or reduction of their obligation when they reach normal retirement age; they must show they are retired or have taken steps to retire, and their retirement reduces their ability to pay support in order for the request to be granted.

Confer With a Skilled Miami Attorney

Alimony agreements and orders that align with the parties’ needs and resources when they are issued may need to be adjusted due to a change in circumstances. If you wish to seek or fight a request for termination or modification of alimony, it is advisable to meet with an attorney as soon as possible. The skilled Miami attorneys of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., can inform you of your options and help you to pursue the best legal outcome possible under the facts of your case. We have an office in Aventura, and we regularly represent people in divorce cases in Miami. You can contact us to set up a confidential and free consultation by using our online form or calling us at 800-596-0579.