Knowing when to seek a child support or alimony modification is important. When couples agree to separate, many lifestyle changes ensue and alimony and child support must be agreed upon or concluded with a judge’s ruling. Alimony and child support are issues decided based on the existing financial conditions at the time. These financial circumstances are subject to change, and if the change is substantial enough, not contemplated at the time of the final judgment, involuntary and permanent, it may allow for the financial obligations to be modified. 

If the party paying support loses their job, has a cut in pay or has a serious health issue, if the receiving party becomes employed or has a raise in pay, or if either party inherits money or wins the lottery, a modification can be sought. 

When either party seeks a child support modification, the court determines the present income and applies the formula provided in the statute  to determine if the support obligation should be modified or if it will remain the same. 

Modifying alimony is different than child support. Child support is always subject to modification as opposed to alimony where parties can agree to never allow a modification. If a former spouse remarries or is living in a supportive relationship, a judge can determine if alimony should be reduced or terminated. Once alimony is terminated, it can never be restored. 

You Must Qualify by Having a Substantial Change in Circumstances Before Filing for a Modification

  • Health issues
  • Long-term unemployment
  • Gifts
  • Large raise
  • Substantial inheritance
  • Lottery winnings
  • Availability of medical insurance
  • Payer’s long-term involuntary decreased ability to pay
  • Retirement by the payor
  • Voluntary changes in circumstances that are smart and well thought out decisions
  • Payee gets remarried
  • Payee fraud in obtaining alimony

These factors will generally not justify a modification of Florida alimony:

  • Expenses of a second marriage
  • Moderate showing of the improvement in the payee’s economic situation
  • Award of lump sum alimony or bridge-the-gap alimony
  • Marital settlement agreements that specifically waive the right to modify alimony
  • Voluntarily quitting your job
  • Getting purposely fired

Can I Modify Alimony if There Was No Original Award?

Whie alimony laws in Florida are progressive, alimony can only be modified or terminated due to a former spouse’s ability to pay if it was awarded in the original divorce decree. If alimony was not awarded at the time of divorce, the court has nothing to modify. Once a no-alimony order is signed, the court lacks jurisdiction over alimony and there is no way to be awarded alimony. 

The courts have the sole discretion to modify child support or alimony. A judge will only reduce or terminate alimony if properly requested by a supplemental petition to modify alimony, and granted in a final order for modification. You should never stop paying alimony or you may face sanctions, have your driver’s license suspended, or face possible jail time. It is important to file for a modification the moment your circumstances change. You should retain an experienced law attorney, who is an expert in this field and can provide vigorous representation.

Family Law Attorney Palm Beach Gardens

Paul J. Burkhart

Paul J. Burkhart can help if you or your ex partner are seeking an alimony or child support modification.  Paul J. Burkhart is an experienced attorney and can offer legal advice and ensure that all agreements are legal and binding. 

Business Attorney Palm Beach Gardens

Our team assists both individuals, and business clients with all their legal needs, including business and Corporate Transactions, Business/Commercial and Civil Litigation, Real Estate, Intellectual Property, Family Law, and Estate Planning matters. We are a full-service private law firm ready to assist you with any request, large or small. Call 561-880-0155 or visit our website.


Law Offices of Paul J Burkhart, PL
800 Village Square Crossing
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
Phone: (561) 880-0155


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