Florida Court Explains Adequate Grounds for Modifying Alimony

In Florida divorce actions, the courts may order one party to pay the other alimony. Generally, the courts will not grant alimony unless the evidence demonstrates both that the party seeking support lacks the financial resources to provide for their basic needs and that the party from whom support is sought has the ability to pay. As such, if either party’s financial situation changes, it may necessitate a modification of the alimony award. In a recent Florida ruling issued in a divorce action, the court explained what constitutes adequate grounds for granting a modification request. If you wish to end your marriage, you should confer with a Miami divorce lawyer about how your decision could impact you financially.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the parties divorced in 2016. Pursuant to the final judgment of divorce, the husband had an obligation to pay durational alimony to the wife. In 2018, the husband sought a modification of the alimony award based on a change in his income, and the court granted his request. His income fluctuated at that time, though, and the evidence suggested different amounts.

Allegedly, in 2020, the husband lost his job and obtained another position with a lower salary. He then filed a second petition for alimony modification, claiming a substantial change in circumstances due to the reduction in his income. The wife argued that his income was lower than he reported and that the reduction was not substantial enough to warrant a modification. The court denied the husband’s petition, and he appealed.

What Constitutes Adequate Grounds for Modifying Alimony

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling. In doing so, it noted that when ruling on the petition, the trial court failed to resolve the factual dispute regarding the husband’s income. To adjudicate the husband’s petition for alimony modification, however, the court needed to determine if there was a substantial change in circumstances that was not contemplated at the time of the final judgment and if it was sufficient, material, permanent, and involuntary. The court elaborated that factual findings are required to support alimony rulings, and the failure to make such findings is a reversible error.

In the subject case, the trial court had to determine the husband’s income at the time the 2018 alimony order was issued in order to assess whether there was a substantial change in circumstances supporting his modification request. Without these findings, the court could not support the denial of the husband’s petition. As such, the court reversed the trial court’s order on the modification petition.

Consult a Skilled Miami Attorney About Your Case

The decision to end a marriage not only impacts people emotionally but also has financial ramifications. If you intend to seek a divorce, it is in your best interest to consult an attorney regarding your rights. The skilled Miami lawyers of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A. possess the knowledge and resources needed to handle contentious cases, and if you hire us, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. Our office is located in Aventura, and we frequently represent people in divorce actions in Miami. You can contact us through our online form or at 800-596-0579 to set up a consultation.