Say your ex has been out of a job for a while and recently took a new one, or they have been working continuously but just accepted a promotion with a big pay raise. Does that mean your alimony can now be modified? 

The answer is…it depends.

Understanding Florida alimony laws

The amount of alimony or spousal support awarded during divorce is determined by a judge and is an agreement put in place that is based on both one person’s need and another person’s ability to pay. If alimony was granted in the original judgment, then it may be modified post-judgment provided certain criteria are met.

Florida Statute §61.14 states that most types of alimony may be modified or terminated when there has been an unexpected, involuntary, and substantial change in circumstances that affects the former spouse’s ability to pay, or the other former spouse’s need for alimony. The caveat is that if alimony is court-ordered as non-modifiable, it may not be changed even if there is a significant change in circumstances.

What constitutes a “substantial change in circumstances”?

If alimony was not awarded in the original divorce degree or if it was court ordered as non-modifiable, then there is nothing to change with the spousal support payments. 

However, if alimony was awarded and you want to modify it because you believe there has been a substantial change in circumstances, you will need to file a supplemental petition for modification of alimony form with the court.

A “substantial change in circumstances” means the change was unanticipated at the time alimony was ordered by the court, and the change is permanent, involuntary, and material. 

When the pandemic first emerged, many couples sought alimony modifications as their circumstances were indeed unanticipated and involuntary. Now that the economy is beginning to recover in some areas and employment numbers tick back up, is a new job also grounds for an alimony modification?

The circumstances will truly depend on each specific case, but generally a moderate improvement in a payee’s economic situation will not be sufficient to warrant a change in alimony. 

In any situation, it’s important to remember that there are numerous factors at play. To discuss your specific case and learn more about post-judgment spousal support modifications in Florida, contact our team of family law lawyers at the Vasquez de Lara Law Group right away. 

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