When Florida courts make alimony decisions, they typically do so after considering a broad number of factors, such as each party in the marriage’s earnings, future earning potential and standard of living. In many cases, though, situations change after a divorce becomes final. In some cases, certain circumstances arise that may warrant a modification of an existing alimony or spousal support order.
If you are an alimony-paying divorcee who has recently experienced a substantial change in circumstances, or conversely, if you are an alimony-receiving divorcee, and your ex has experienced a circumstantial change, your alimony agreement may undergo modification.
Defining “substantial change in circumstances”
Just what might a “substantial change in circumstance” look like? If the person paying spousal support recently lost his or her job and no longer has a steady or reliable income stream, this could potentially constitute a substantial change in circumstances. In some cases, if the person paying alimony, say, wins the lottery or develops a serious illness that threatens his or her earning potential, these situations, too could potentially constitute a substantial change in circumstances.
The person who pays alimony may also be able to request an alimony modification if his or her ex now lives with someone else who supports him or her. Whether he or she proves successful in his or her quest to modify alimony due to these circumstances depends on several factors, among them the type and the duration of the relationship that exists between the person receiving alimony and the person with whom he or she lives. Because there is considerable ambiguity at hand when assessing whether a “supportive relationship” exists between two people, courts typically make related decisions on a case-by-case basis.
While these are some of the situations that may give cause to an alimony modification in Florida, please note that this is not an exhaustive list of all situations that may give rise to a change.