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Did you know your alimony agreement can be modified?

The Florida legislature has considered alimony reform for years, but it has not yet passed into law. Consequently, permanent periodic alimony is still in force, at least for the time being. Some people believe there is no way to get out of paying it, but that is not the case.

Modification of alimony is possible under Florida law, but the court will look very closely at the reasons behind such a petition.  

The meaning of permanent periodic alimony

Following a divorce in the state of Florida, permanent periodic alimony allows the recipient to receive ongoing payments from the payer until he or she either remarries or dies. Obviously, the payments would also stop if the payer should die. In its determination concerning the amount of payment, the court will consider, among other things, the couple’s standard of living during the marriage, the age of each partner and the state of both their physical and emotional health.

How changing circumstances affect the agreement

The court will consider modification to the alimony agreement if the reason for requesting change is material, permanent and involuntary. Some of the acceptable changes in circumstance include: 

  •         Salary reduction due to job loss, as long as the payer is making an effort to replace lost income.
  •         Retirement, but not early retirement unless there is a medical reason.
  •         Temporary reduction in the amount of payment when the payer wishes to complete education for the purpose of career enhancement.

Going with the flow

Alimony, or spousal support, has been in a state of flux for more than 40 years, after the Supreme Court ruled to apply the requirements equally to both men and women. In most cases, men pay women. According to the 2010 census, only three percent of alimony recipients were male. But today, women are paying alimony more often, and alimony in Florida continues to evolve.

Assessing your chance for agreement modification

An attorney experienced with divorce proceedings can help determine whether the courts are likely to grant your request for modification. Unless the original agreement contained a non-modification clause, if the court sees your petition for change is valid, it should be possible in many cases.

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