In Florida, the term alimony is actually not in our statutes, the term used in our statutes is called spousal support, but most people know commonly what alimony is; that’s support obligation to a former spouse. So these things could be ordered from a divorce years and years ago, but maybe more recent. Our law does provide an opportunity for a person who’s paying or receiving to seek to modify a previously ordered alimony award.
Now, for the most part, you must demonstrate that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the original award was entered and what you would do is, you would petition the court to modify the alimony award. Maybe you’re the receiving party and you need it modified up. Your circumstances have changed significantly, and you need more support or the paying spouse’s circumstances have changed and they have the ability to pay more support, and you also need it. Or you’re maybe the paying spouse and you no longer have the income you used to have, or your ex-spouse is now in some type of supportive relationship where they don’t need the same level of support that you were previously ordered to pay. There are many circumstances that might lead to and warrant a modification of an alimony award.
The way that it is done is by seeking a court order to change the prior court order. Now, you might, probably not, but you might be able to get your ex-spouse to agree to the modification. You still will need a court order ratifying and accepting that agreement. That agreement must be in writing, signed by both of you and your signatures notarized. You still have to file a petition with the court and ask the court to enter an order changing the prior order.
Most of the time it’s going to be hard to get your ex-spouse to agree to a modification unless it benefits them, which you’re likely not going to pursue. So, most of the time that leads you to just petitioning the court to modify the alimony that was previously awarded and identifying in your petition the substantial changes in circumstances that have occurred since the original order. This is just like any other case where there’s burdens of proof and evidentiary requirements in order to prove it and get the judge to accept it and rule your favor.
You can, usually, modify an alimony award. Now, by agreement, you for some reason entered into an agreement that says non-modifiable alimony, that may be a different story. It would be best to consult with an attorney who can evaluate your options given the circumstances of your particular case.