Modifying your Alimony Order
In a divorce where one partner can reasonably expect to face financial hardship after exiting the marriage, the court may create an alimony order to ease that partner’s financial difficulty. Although permanent alimony orders are sometimes still issued, the majority of today’s alimony orders last for a specific period of time, generally what the court deems to be enough time for the lesser-earning spouse to sufficiently prepare to reenter the workforce and become self-supporting.
When regular alimony payments become a financial hardship for the paying spouse, he or she can seek a modification to the order.
How to Modify your Alimony Order in Florida
To modify your alimony order, you must file a petition with the court that handled your original order outlining your reason for seeking a modification. You must serve your former partner with this document and submit the following documents to the court alongside it:
- Affidavits about both parties’ finances;
- If you and your spouse agree about the modification, a settlement agreement; and
- Certification that both spouses have truthfully disclosed all of their required financial information.
After being served, your spouse can agree to the modification or file a counterpetition. If he or she files a counterpetition to keep the amount the same or alter it in another way, you will have to schedule a hearing to explain your case to the court, which then determines whether to grant either suggested modification or keep the alimony order as it exists.
If you currently have an alimony order and you are facing difficulty making your regular payments, speak with your lawyer about modifying the order. Do not, under any circumstance, simply stop making the payments and allow yourself to become delinquent. This is an act of contempt of court that can have serious penalties for you.
Reasons to Modify an Existing Alimony Order
The party who files the petition to modify his or her alimony order must provide a reason for the modification. Acceptable reasons for a modification include:
- The receiving spouse becoming employed or getting a substantial raise;
- The paying spouse’s retirement;
- A health condition or disability that inhibits the paying spouse’s ability to make payments;
- One party wins the lottery;
- The paying spouse loses a job and cannot reenter the workforce at the same rate right away;
- The receiving spouse committed fraud regarding the alimony order;
- The receiving spouse remarries; and
- Either spouse inherits a large amount of money that substantially changes his or her financial situation.
Not all reasons for changing an alimony order are acceptable. Generally, a paying spouse’s choice to remain unemployed or the expenses associated with a second marriage or new baby are not reasons to justify an alimony modification.
Work with our Team at Draper Law Office
Contact Draper Law Office online or by calling 866-767-4711 today to schedule your free, no-obligation legal consultation in one of our three convenient locations: Kissimmee, St. Cloud, and Orlando. We can answer any questions you have and act as your advocates as you work through the process of altering your alimony order.