Judge on the benchThis is the next post in my series on the issue of spousal support in Melbourne, Florida divorce cases. My last article discussed how “underemployment” can impact alimony. It is important to understand that a Court may order someone to pay an amount that is disproportionate to their income if it is shown that they are choosing to earn less. How the Court will rule in any given circumstance, however, will always depend on the specific facts of the case. Retaining an attorney can help you to fully understand your options. In this article I will discuss another important topic – the possibility of adjusting a support payment after a case has been concluded. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Florida typically considers spousal support to be “modifiable.” This means that, if circumstances have changed, the Court may be willing to change a payment obligation after a divorce decree has been entered. This can happen under multiple circumstances. These circumstances can include instances in which the paying spouse saw a meaningful increase in income after the case is over, instances in which the receiving spouse has seen an increase in income, or in matters where either parties incomes have decreased. If, for example, a party is receiving rehabilitative support while they are trying to get into the workforce, and they receive a surprise job offer, then the Court may determine that support is no longer necessary.

The process for modifying spousal support begins by filing a Supplemental Petition with the Court. The opposing party may file an Opposition. Each side will be required to file updated financial disclosures. A hearing will be held at which the Judge will enter an order. Depending on the facts of the case, this order may be temporary and an evidentiary hearing may be scheduled so that the Court may hear testimony before issuing a final ruling. In especially complex matters, the Court may permit the parties to conduct discovery.

Some divorce decrees may contain a provision stating that spousal support is “non-modifiable.” This means that the payment amount and duration will not be adjusted, up or down, regardless of changes in circumstances. Such an order, however, is typically only made upon agreement by the parties.

If you are involved in a divorce then it is important that you retain an experienced Melbourne spousal support lawyer. Alimony is an issue which causes tension between the parties and also raises complex issues of law and fact. By retaining counsel sooner, rather than later, you help to ensure that your rights remain protected. My office prides itself on providing quality service and we are ready to assist you. Contact us today. We also service clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.