In Florida, Can Alimony Be Modified Following the Final Dissolution of Marriage Judgment?
Yes, in many instances in Florida post judgment alimony can be modified. There are, however a number of considerations. Alimony is money paid from one party in a dissolution of marriage to the other party.
Further, if modification of alimony has been adjudicated “waived” then neither party can return to court to change the amount or duration of their alimony agreement. No one knows the future, so even if the dollar amount in just $1 it is wise to keep the door open for post-judgment modification of alimony if the need arises.
Temporary Alimony is awarded for the duration of the divorce litigation only. Occasionally there is modification of the dollar amount during litigation but this type of alimony ends upon final judgment.
Permanent Alimony is awarded for the lifetime of the recipient or party paying unless the receiving party remarries or there is extensive proof of a supportive, non-relative, cohabitate relationship. This type of alimony can be modified when there is a substantial, permanent, change in circumstances for either party. These changes need to have taken place following the final judgment and be unanticipated at that time. Some examples are winning the lottery, a large increase or decrease in income, ongoing health issues, or job loss due to no fault of the person and no comparable job apparent while actively seeking work for a long time. Here is where an experienced alimony attorney or dissolution of marriage lawyer, or divorce attorney can help make the appropriate determination, file the necessary Supplemental Petition for Modification and see you through the litigation process. This process will include in-depth financial disclosure of both parties, presentation of sufficient proof of need at mediation (required in Florida before a court hearing), and when necessary, presentation in court. Legal professionals will also file motions when needed, prepare necessary paperwork, and give helpful procedural advice.
Bridge-the-Gap Alimony is awarded to help the receiving spouse adjust to a single lifestyle including seeking improved employment opportunities. It lasts for a maximum of two years and is not modifiable.
Rehabilitative Alimony is awarded to help a former spouse improve their ability to be self-supportive. Education and skill development are included in this award. A definite plan with goals for achievement must accompany this award. Modification in the time allowed is given in rare circumstance. Modification to end this alimony will be given if the rehabilitative plan is not being followed or if the goals are reached prior to the end of the time line.
Durational Alimony is awarded for short-term or moderate-term marriages and is usually equal to the number of years of marriage. Its purpose is to provide financial assistance when need is proven. In extreme circumstances the amount can be modified but not the time duration.
Lump Sum Alimony is a determined, one time dollar amount awarded following the final dissolution of marriage judgment. There is no modification.
Whether it is helping you obtain the right type and amount of alimony prior to your dissolution of marriage judgment or helping you to modify the awarded judgment alimony, it is wise to use an experienced alimony attorney, dissolution of marriage lawyer, or divorce attorney. The process of obtaining or modifying alimony is much like a maze, one most people need professional legal direction to navigate.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Grant Gisondo
Grant J. Gisondo is the founder of the Family Law section at Clarfield, Okon, Salomone & Pincus, PL and most recently founded Grant J. Gisondo, P.A. to focus his practice on family and marital law with offices in West Palm Beach serving Palm Beach County, Martin County, Saint Lucie County, Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Hillsborough and Orange County.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.
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