Alimony is a common part of many Florida couples’ divorce orders, but what happens if your alimony stops? On the other side, what happens if you cannot afford to pay alimony anymore? Are alimony orders set in stone?
What if alimony payments stop?
If you receive alimony, Florida does not offer the same enforcement tools as other divorce payments, like child support. With child support, wage garnishments are enforceable and there are state agencies that help with collections. With alimony, the receiving spouse must seek help from the courts for a judgment to enforce their alimony rights. An experienced family law attorney can assist you with seeking relief from the courts.
What if I am the spouse who owes alimony, and I cannot pay it anymore?
If you are the spouse who makes payments to the other party, and you experience a sudden change in circumstances, you can ask for a modification of the alimony order. The courts can modify alimony payments to lower or stop payments, if they find enough evidence of changed circumstances. Some common life changes that may reduce your capacity to make these alimony payments are job or benefits loss, retirement or illness. An attorney may also help you discuss alimony modification, and help you prepare documentation needed to establish your change in circumstances.
What if both of our circumstances post-divorce changed?
There are many changes that might affect either spouse’s financial picture enough to justify an alimony modification. If one spouse suddenly receives a financial windfall or spike in earnings, or if one or both spouse remarries and receives more financial support, then a change in circumstances has occurred. Why would alimony not be affected?
Courts cannot see your every move after your divorce. If you feel like your alimony payment should rise because of the other spouse’s gain, the courts may be able to help. If you feel like your alimony payment should drop because your spouse has entered a relationship where they gain substantial support or you have a drop in your income, the courts can also help modify alimony payments. Ideally, divorce is not one-sided, and in Florida initiating alimony modifications is not.