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Can You Modify or Terminate Permanent Alimony in Florida?
Permanent alimony continues until the spouse receiving alimony remarries or one of the spouses dies. That does not mean you cannot modify or terminate permanent alimony for other reasons.
However, you should consult an experienced Orlando spousal support lawyer about the specifics of your case. Until then, continue reading this blog post for further insight into this important topic.
What Are the Common Types of Alimony in Florida?
Common types of alimony payments in Florida include:
Bridge-the-gap alimony is short-term support to help with identifiable needs after a divorce.
Temporary alimony is granted during the divorce proceeding.
Rehabilitative alimony allows a spouse to obtain the necessary skills they need to re-enter the workforce.
Durational alimony is for a set period and usually does not last longer than the duration of the marriage.
Permanent alimony continues indefinitely.
An award for spousal support has a significant impact on your future. Understanding your rights is essential for protecting yourself.
What Is Permanent Alimony in Florida?
Permanent alimony is periodic payments to an ex-spouse for financial support. Judges typically grant permanent alimony only if a spouse can prove the following:
They do not have the resources or ability to support themselves after the divorce; and,
They cannot afford to pay for the necessities of life after the divorce.
Courts apply a two-part test when deciding whether to grant permanent alimony. Judges must find a need for support payments by one spouse and the ability to pay the payments by the other spouse.
The term “need” does not only refer to the basics required for daily life. Instead, it refers to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
What Factors Does a Judge Consider When Deciding Custody Cases in Orlando, FL?
The judge considers several factors and makes decisions based on the facts and circumstances specific to your case. Florida Statute §61.08 lists factors a judge should consider in addition to making a factual determination of need and ability to pay. Those factors are:
The standard of living established by the couple during the marriage
The financial resources of each spouse
The duration of the marriage
The vocational skills, education levels, earning capacities, and employability of each party
The age of each spouse
The emotional and physical condition of both parties
All sources of income available to the parties
The contribution by each spouse to the marriage, including contributions to the other person’s career, services for homemaking, and caring for their children
The consequences and tax treatment of alimony payments
The responsibilities each party has for caring for their children after the divorce
The judge can also consider all other evidence they deem relevant to deciding the terms for spousal support.
Typically, permanent alimony is awarded in cases involving long-term marriages (i.e., marriages lasting more than 17 years). However, the courts might award permanent alimony payments for moderate-length marriages, including marriages lasting from seven to 17 years.
A judge could order permanent alimony in short-term marriages, but it is rare. The party seeking permanent alimony would need to prove exceptional circumstances to justify permanent alimony instead of another form of spousal support.
How To Modify or Terminate Permanent Alimony Payments in Florida?
If a spouse can prove to the court that a change in circumstances justifies modification of permanent alimony payments. The change would need to be:
The change would be something that the parties did not contemplate when the judge granted the permanent alimony payments. Examples of reasons why a judge might modify or terminate permanent spousal support payments include, but are not limited to:
The payee spouse gets married or enters a supportive relationship
One of the parties dies
A spouse develops a chronic illness or disability
Involuntary termination of employment
A substantial increase in earnings
A substantial windfall, including lottery winnings and gifts
Availability of health insurance
Some things that will not typically justify modifying alimony payments include voluntarily quitting a job or purposefully getting fired. Also, the expenses of a second marriage for the spouse paying alimony do not change their current spousal support payments.
Is Permanent Alimony Ending in Florida?
A proposed change to spousal support laws could end permanent alimony payments in Florida. The bill eliminates permanent spousal support in the state. Instead, it replaces it with durational alimony.
Proponents of the new law believe it will make the determination of spousal support fairer to both parties. It also gives both parties a definite end to their financial relationship.
The law has not been passed as of April 2023. If you have questions about alimony or spousal support, it is best to speak with an experienced Orlando alimony attorney. An attorney can explain the current alimony laws in Florida, your legal options, and what you can do to protect your best interests during the divorce process.
Contact Our Spousal Support Law Firm in Orlando, FL