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If you need help with post-judgement modifications for alimony payments, custody support or custody orders, consult a Fort Lauderdale post-judgement modification attorney.

It is not uncommon for circumstances to change following a divorce.  When this occurs, consult with post-judgment modification attorneys regarding your changes to determine whether you are entitled to modify your current court order or settlement agreement. 

How do I know if I am entitled to an alimony modification?

If you are paying alimony to your former spouse, you may be entitled to a modification of those obligations if a substantial, material, unanticipated, permanent change has occurred.  So, what does that mean?  Generally, if you have an alimony obligation and your income has reduced at least 10%, you could be entitled to a modification of that obligation.  For example, if you work on salary and commissions and through no fault of your own, your commission structure changes and you will be earning 30% less in commissions than you were in previous years working the same clients, this could be a substantial change warranting a downward modification of your alimony obligation. 

Generally, to obtain a permanent modification, your changed circumstance must persist for one (1) year.  You could be entitled to relief upon the reduction of your income, but that relief could be temporary and revisited again once you begin earning more money, or if it becomes clear that after one (1) year, this is your new income structure. 

In addition, the change must be unanticipated.  For example, if you agreed to your alimony obligation but you knew at the time you agreed that your commission structure was changing, then this is anticipated, and you might not be entitled to relief.  There are many factors that are considered for a modification and they are reviewed on a case by case basis.

You may not be entitled to a modification if you agreed to pay non-modifiable alimony and it is clearly stated so in your settlement agreement.  If you cannot continue paying at the rate you agreed to, you may not be held in contempt, but your arrears will accumulate and you will be legally responsible for paying the arrears until they are paid in full.  If you agreed to non-modifiable alimony, it is still worth discussing with a Fort Lauderdale post-judgement modification attorney, because your former spouse may be willing to restructure the payments to accommodate your reduction in pay and to extend the payments to ensure he or she is paid the original amount.

What is a supportive relationship?

A supportive relationship is a relationship between an alimony recipient and another adult not related by consanguinity who reside together.  Generally, these two adults hold themselves out to be spouses, reside together permanently, pooled assets or income, support one another, perform valuable services for one another or the other’s employer, or they have purchased real property together.

If you receive alimony from your former spouse and you begin residing with a significant other, you could be at risk of having your alimony award reduced or terminated.  Before you move in with someone, you should consult with a Fort Lauderdale modification attorney to determine what result this could have on your alimony award.

If you pay alimony to your former spouse and he or she has commenced residing with another person, you should discuss your matter with a post-judgement modification attorney to determine whether it is financially feasible to seek a modification of your alimony obligation.

If at any time, alimony obligations are modified and child support is also being paid, a modification of child support will also occur to take into consideration the reduced income of the payor spouse, and the reduced alimony award of the recipient spouse.

What if I suspect my former spouse has deliberately reduced his or her income and now tells me he or she cannot afford to pay alimony?

This is a common situation.  If your former spouse has voluntarily reduced his or her income to reduce his or her ability to pay alimony, it is not likely they will be entitled to an alimony modification.  Through the discovery process, your post-judgement modification attorney can determine the actual cause for the reduction in income and can make arguments to the court that alimony should remain the same and that the payor spouse has unclean hands.  This is common in a family business where the former spouse hires the new spouse or significant other and redirects income that was normally taken by the former spouse and paid to the new spouse or significant other.  The money remains in the former spouse’s household, but is not paid directly to the former spouse.  This is easy to track and prove, and a good post-judgement modification attorney will know what evidence and documents to look to defend against an alimony modification action.

Can I modify my child support obligation?

Child support obligations are always modifiable.  The State of Florida’s public policy regarding child support is that the support obligation is the right of the child, not the parent receiving support, hence neither parent can waive the child’s right to support.  It is also public policy to ensure that the child support transfers from home to home with the child.  For that reason, the guideline takes into consideration how much time the children will spend with each parent and the timesharing becomes a factor in the child support.  If your timesharing schedule changes and you are having more or less overnights with the minor children than you were originally entitled to under your settlement agreement or final order, child support can be modified to accommodate that change.

To modify child support based upon financial circumstances, there must be a change in income that yields a 10% change but not less than a $25.00 change in the child support obligation.  If you are paying child support and your income drops through no fault of your own which yields a 10% change in the child support obligation, you are entitled to a reduction in child support.  Your pro-rata share of the child related expenses will also change.  For example, if your child support obligation is $1,000.00 and your income is reduced and your new obligation would be $900.00 per month, you are entitled to the reduction because the changes is more than $25.00 and it is a 10% change in the amount to be paid.  Further, your pro-rata share will reduce and if you were paying 70% of the uncovered child related expenses, your new pro-rata share could be 65% of uncovered expenses.

If you receive child support, and your income increases, your former spouse could seek to reduce his or her child support obligations based upon your income increases.  The same rules apply, and there must be a 10% change but not less than $25.00 in the child support award.

If you have further questions regarding family law and post-judgement modifications, do not hesitate to contact the post-judgement modification attorneys at Fixel Neave, P.A.  We offer free consultations and accept all major credit cards as payment for services.  We can be reached by calling 954-981-2200 or by completing our online contact form.

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(954) 981-2200

12 SE 7th Street
Suite 601 
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301