What happens if the Fort Lauderdale divorce judge has ordered you to make alimony or child support payments and you no longer can pay the amount? Do not neglect your payment obligation. Go back to the Broward County divorce court and file a petition for a downward modification of your child support and/or alimony. Whether you are paying child support or temporary, rehabilitative or permanent alimony, if you stop making payments, the marital and family law judge in Fort Lauderdale may hold you in contempt of court which means you could end up behind bars at the Broward County jail.
With the economy the way it is today, a number of spouses are finding it exceedingly difficult to make their payments. If you are the payor spouse and you are making less money than you were at the time of your support determination, you may have legal grounds to petition the court for a downward modification. If you are the receiving spouse it is wise to draft a new agreement with your ex detailing the percentage of downward modification and the length of time this modification will be in effect. Both parties should consult their attorneys and come up with a modification agreement so that the children and the parents are financially stable.
The statutory grounds for modification of alimony are found in section 61.14(1) of the Florida Statutes. When the parties enter into an agreement or the court orders alimony payments, and sometime later the financial ability or the circumstances change then either spouse may request the court for modification of alimony or child support payments. The party who petitions for a change in alimony must show that a substantial change has occurred. Showing a reduction in the payor’s income alone will not justify modification. The change must be involuntary and there must be no other funds in the payor spouse’s possession that could be used to keep current with the alimony obligation
The statutory grounds for modification of child support and alimony are found in section 61.13(1)(a) and section 61.14(1) of the Florida Statutes. Either party may apply for modification of the court-ordered or agreed to child support award whenever the financial circumstances of either party changes substantially or the child, who is a beneficiary of the agreement or court order, reaches majority. The party who petitions for downward modification of child support must be prepared to prove that a substantial change in the circumstances has occurred. “Substantial” means significant, involuntary and permanent.