When the divorce process is over and both individuals go their own way, they must adhere to a divorce decree. This court-ordered document outlines a number of factors that were resolved during the divorce process such as any issues concerning child support, property division, and more. One of the factors that are decided is alimony. This dictates an amount that one party must pay to the other based on a number of factors in order to help the receiving spouse maintain the way of life to which they are accustomed. While there are some instances in which alimony may be permanent, it’s important to know that there are times where the order can be modified. At Givens Givens Sparks, our Tampa divorce lawyers explain how you should modify alimony and the common pitfalls people you should avoid.
The Florida divorce laws allow for modifications of alimony in certain cases. If you have been ordered to pay or receive permanent alimony, and your final circumstances or those of your ex-spouse have substantially changed, the court may modify the amount of alimony in your case. If you feel that a modification of alimony might be appropriate, you have a choice where you file your motion to modify alimony. You can file a motion to modify alimony in either the circuit court of the circuit in which either you or your ex-spouse resided at the date of the execution of your original agreement, or in which the original alimony order was rendered, or where either of you currently resides.
How Long has it Been Since the Court Ordered Your Alimony?
If it has been a few years since alimony was originally ordered in your case, chances are you may not know the amount of income your ex-spouse currently earns. The rules of Florida family law courts provide that your ex-spouse must complete a new financial affidavit if you request a modification of your current support amount. If you have reason to believe that either your circumstances or those of your ex-spouse have substantially changed, and a modification of alimony might be appropriate, contact an expert Florida alimony attorney to discuss your case.
Filing a Petition
Before you can modify your alimony payments, you must file a petition showing that there has been a substantial change to warrant the modification. It is important to show that as the paying spouse, you are unable to make the same amount of payments for reasons such as a demotion at work or loss of employment.
Hiring an Attorney
Many individuals fail to realize the importance that a lawyer has in their case. They often try to navigate these matters on their own and don’t provide the proper information to seek a modification. This can result in the petition to be denied. By having an attorney on your side, you will know which ways to successfully petition for a modification in alimony.
Don’t Negotiate with Your Ex
Many people feel that by simply talking things over with their ex-spouse and “agreeing” to pay less, they can modify their court order. This is not the case. The trial court has discretion regarding alimony modification and the only way to make it legally binding is to go through the process. A verbal agreement with your ex-spouse won’t protect you in the future.
If you are looking to modify your alimony, call our firm today. We are ready to help you get through the difficult process one step at a time.