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Can someone adjust alimony payments when their income drops?

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2024 | Family Law

Alimony payment obligations are a possibility in certain Florida divorces. When one spouse leaves the workforce to perform unpaid work for the family, they may lose income and also see a drop in their long-term earning potential.

The Florida family courts can take that economic disadvantage into consideration during divorce proceedings. If a lower-earning or dependent spouse requests alimony, which some people call spousal maintenance or spousal support, a Florida family law judge can potentially order the higher-earning spouse to make monthly payments.

Alimony payments may last for several years and can help someone begin living independently after leaving the workforce or deprioritizing career development during a marriage. Can the spouse paying alimony reduce the amount if their income decreases?

Florida does modify alimony in some cases

There are numerous factors that influence the final order for alimony in a Florida divorce. The terms of any prenuptial agreement between the spouses, the earning potential of both spouses and even the duration of the marriage can come into play. Therefore, if the income of one party drops substantially, that could theoretically influence how much alimony one spouse pays the other. When the paying spouse has a drop in income, they can petition the courts to review and adjust alimony amounts. However, there is no guarantee that the courts will reduce alimony payments.

For example, if there is reason to believe that someone left a decent-paying job for a lower-paying profession with the intention of reducing alimony obligations, then the courts may decline to adjust the alimony amounts. If the reduction in income is not substantial enough, then the courts might maintain the order as-is.

It is worth noting that the spouse receiving alimony also has the option of requesting a modification or adjustment. If they discover that their spouse has received a raise or promotion, they might ask the courts to reevaluate alimony payments based on that change in circumstances. Both spouses theoretically have the option of requesting that the courts review an existing alimony order when financial circumstances change in any significant way.

Changes in income or marital status for either spouse may warrant a review of an existing alimony order. Recognizing that the courts can change alimony orders may help people better protect their financial stability after a Florida divorce.