Many people have heard about divorce horror stories. One Florida couple filed for divorce in 2008, and they ended up spending over $400,000 in court costs and attorney's fees. The case initially settled, but it re-opened recently due to the wife wanting to modify alimony.
Fortunately, most divorces do not end up this way. Many people can settle this matter in a few months or a little over a year. However, over time, one spouse may want to change the terms of the arrangements. People often want to change alimony agreements due to a shift in circumstances. A judge will not alter alimony for small issues that arise over the years, but there may be cases where a change is due.
A substantial change in circumstance
Life can change in a moment's notice. A spouse paying alimony may lose his or her job and get a different job that pays significantly less. Conversely, a former spouse may get a great, new job that pays significantly more. Either of these can result in a change in alimony. Other reasons for altering payments include the following:
- Inability to go back to work after an injury or illness
- Substantial lottery winnings
- Changes in health insurance
An ex-spouse cannot alter alimony due to a slight increase in rent or a car breaking down. Judges view each case in detail, so a spouse hoping to alter the arrangement should be able to defend the change.
The recipient marries another person
Another circumstance that may result in the termination of alimony is if the person receiving the payments marries someone else. In this instance, a judge would assume the recipient now has support, so the payments are not essential. This is true even if the new household brings in less money than the alimony. A couple may not even need to marry for this to occur. A judge considers whether the recipient is in a "supportive relationship." Therefore, if the recipient has been in a relationship for several years, then the alimony could end even if that couple has not married yet.