Florida Court Examines Discovery Requests in Alimony Modification Claims

Discovery is a crucial part of the divorce process, as it allows the parties and court to evaluate community debts and assets. As such, if the court limits or denies a party’s discovery requests, it may impair their right to assert certain claims or arguments. Recently, a Florida court discussed the right to obtain discovery of a party’s assets in a matter in which the court reversed the trial court’s denial of a discovery request related to property awarded to a party in the judgment of dissolution. If you are concerned about how divorce may impact you financially, it would benefit you to meet with a Miami divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Case Background

It is reported that the husband and wife divorced in 2008. Pursuant to the final judgment of dissolution, the husband was ordered to pay the wife permanent alimony of $13,000 per month. In 2019, the wife filed a motion for content and enforcement due to the fact that the husband failed to make a required alimony payment.

Allegedly, the husband filed a motion to modify the alimony obligation in response. The wife then sought discovery regarding the husband’s finances, including information about the husband’s sale of an asset that was awarded to him in their divorce settlement. The husband objected to the request, and the court found in favor of the husband, limiting the wife’s discovery with regard to the sale of the asset. The wife filed a petition for certiorari, arguing that the trial court deviated from the essential requirements of the law in limiting her right to discovery.

Discovery Requests in Alimony Modification Claims

On appeal, the court disagreed with the trial court’s decision. In doing so, it stated that it was appropriate to consider all of the ex-husband’s assets, regardless of the source, when he was seeking a reduction in his alimony obligation and the ex-wife was seeking to hold him in contempt. In other words, all relevant financial factors, including the liabilities and marital and non-marital assets distributed to each party and the financial resources of each party, are relevant when evaluating a request to modify alimony.

The court further held that the information requested regarding the sale could lead to the discovery of relevant evidence in both the ex-wife’s contempt motions and the ex-husband’s petition for modification. As such, the court found that the trial court’s ruling deviated from the essential requirements of the law and granted the wife certiorari relief.

Confer with an Experienced Miami Attorney

When either party subject to an alimony order seeks a modification, the courts will typically permit both parties to obtain discovery regarding each other’s finances. If you or your former spouse intend to seek a modification of alimony, it is in your best interest to confer with an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced Miami lawyers of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., can advise you of your rights and aid you in pursuing a just outcome. We have an office in Aventura, and we often represent parties in divorce actions in Miami. You can contact us through our online form or at 800-596-0579 to schedule a meeting.