Can alimony be modified in Florida? Are you a former husband or former wife seeking to modify alimony Florida? According to Florida case law, the statutory right to modification (Florida Statute § 61.14(1)(a)), unless specifically waived (in writing in a marital settlement agreement or otherwise), is incorporated as a matter of law (automatically) in any agreement or judgment (court order after trial) providing for alimony. Rosenthal v. Rosenthal, 199 So. 3d 541 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016). It is true that parties to a marriage may waive their statutory right to seek modification of alimony provisions in a marital settlement agreement provided the language in the MSA clearly and unambiguously expresses the parties’ desire for a waiver, or in the alternative, if the reading/interpretation of the parties’ agreement or judgment taken in its entirety can lead to a conclusion only of a waiver of said right to alimony. Non modifiable alimony in Florida is more of the exception to the general rule. Call Attorney Jonathan Jacobs of the Jacobs Family Law Firm to ask about how to modify alimony in Florida or protect yourself against an action for modification. Dial 407-335-8113 today.
Provided the parties may modify alimony in Florida because there is no waiver of modification, when confronted with a party’s request to modify alimony, a court should follow the steps it performed at the outset of the case. This means a court should consider the parties’ income, the payee’s need for alimony, and the payor’s ability to pay. Need and ability to pay are the touchstones of alimony awards and modifications. Dunn v. Dunn, 277 So. 3d 1081 (Fla. 5th DCA 2019).
Non Modifiable Alimony Florida
To modify alimony Florida, the moving party must justify the modification of an alimony award by showing: “(1) a substantial change in circumstances, (2) that was not contemplated at the time of the final judgment of dissolution, and (3) that is sufficient, material, involuntary, and permanent in nature.” Florida Statute § 61.14(1)(a). What is a substantial change in circumstances? There are examples in case law, though every case is unique. That may seem vague so consider your own facts. Has your job been eliminated? Is it possible to find substitute employment for similar wages? Does your profession now demand a different educational standard that you do not qualify for and your job has been terminated? There are many unique and unfortunate financial downturns happening because of Covid and electoral politics (hopefully both are temporary).
Not contemplated at the time of the final judgment means that if it was reasonably understood or foreseeable that your economic circumstances would change, it may be difficult to modify alimony in Florida. If a spouse knew they would be retiring in two years, agreeing to a high amount of alimony may be a challenging obstacle to overcome. The involuntariness and permanency standard is perhaps the toughest to prove and requires substantial evidence for a good showing of proof. See Golson, 207 So. 3d at 325; see also Gelber v. Brydger, 248 So. 3d 1170, 1173 n.1 & n.2 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018); Dogoda v. Dogoda, 233 So. 3d 484, 488 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017). Befanis v. Befanis, 293 So. 3d 1121, 1123 (Fla. 5th DCA 2020). This all presupposes you have not waived your right with non modifiable alimony Florida.
Jonathan Jacobs is a divorce attorney Orlando and a divorce attorney Clermont FL dedicated to assisting his clients with their divorce and family law litigation. Call us at 407-335-8113 for a consultation when you need to modify alimony Florida.