Yaffa Family Law Group
By: Doreen Yaffa

Modifying Spousal Support


Alimony in the State of Florida can typically be modified in either the amount of the award and sometimes the duration of the award, or even both. Oftentimes, alimony payments can be terminated or modified upon certain specific circumstances. See Supplemental Petition for Modification of Alimony. In the event your original final judgment did not grant an award of alimony, an award of alimony is never modifiable. Further, some agreements may specifically state that the award of alimony is non-modifiable. Modification or termination can depend on a number of factors, including the circumstances of both parties and the type of alimony being paid.

As long as your final judgment of divorce includes an award of alimony, Section 61.14 of the Florida Statutes states that most types of alimony awards may be modified or terminated when there has been an unexpected, involuntary, and substantial change in circumstances that affects the former spouse’s ability to pay their award, or the other former spouse’s need for alimony. See Florida Statute 61.14. When pursuing a modification of alimony in the state of Florida, the Florida court judges use Florida Statute 61.14 to find that you must prove that there has been a “Substantial Change in Circumstances that was unknown at the time of the divorce.” See Damiano v. Damiano, 855 So. 2d 708 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003). If this requirement is not met, unfortunately, you will not be successful in modifying the alimony payments in the State of Florida.

Some examples of substantial changes in circumstances that the Florida courts have found to lead to a modification or termination of alimony are health issues, retirement, remarriage, substantial inheritance, large raise, or other things of that nature. This is not an exhausted list; it is just a few examples. Some examples of factors that the Florida courts have generally found will not justify a modification of alimony are voluntarily/purposely getting fired, voluntarily quitting your job.

In the State of Florida, there are three (3) types of alimony that are able to be modified or terminated, and below we will discuss each type. See Florida Statute 61.08

Bridge-the-Gap Alimony: This type or alimony cannot generally be terminated or modified as the rules to receive an award of bride-the-gap alimony are on the stricter side.

Rehabilitative Alimony: If the awarded spouse fails to complete the training specified in the plan explained in the final judgment, a Florida court may choose to modify or cancel the alimony. Further, if there has been a significant change in the situation or living circumstances of the spouse receiving the award of alimony, this can also affect a Florida court’s decision.

Durational Alimony: A significant change in circumstances may also affect whether a Florida court decides to modify a durational alimony payment.

If you or someone you know is seeking advice on spousal support matters, you can speak with one of our family law attorneys at the Yaffa Family Law Group at 561-276-3880 or visit our website at www.yaffafamilylawgroup.com to schedule your confidential complimentary consultation.