How Can You Modify an Alimony Agreement?

Family Attorney Tampa, FL


You may be able to modify alimony in limited circumstances. Every state has its own legal guidelines covering the award, amount, and duration of alimony orders, which are also commonly called spousal maintenance or spousal support. When judges issue orders to pay support, they make their determinations by applying the guidelines in their jurisdiction to individual petitioners’ circumstances. They apply these guidelines to the circumstances in effect at the time of their ruling. When circumstances change, it may entitle a payor or a recipient to request a formal modification. Likewise, people who mutually agree on alimony payments may revisit their agreement and make modifications when their situation or needs change. Here are a few examples of why it may be possible to change an agreement.

Inability to Pay

Temporary incapacity or a sudden loss of income could make it impossible for someone to keep up with a payment schedule. In these instances, it may be beneficial for both parties to mediate the issue and arrive at a resolution that minimizes the impact of a sudden hardship on both parties.

Financial Status of the Recipient

When the recipient of alimony enhances his or her earning capacity and generates more income, it may not be necessary for the payor to continue making payments in the same amount. A payor may request to reduce the amount of payments or suspend them indefinitely. Also, a recipient could voluntarily agree to relinquish the support.

Changes Affecting Durational Need

Agreements or judicial orders to pay alimony typically have a fixed length of time that a person must make payments. In many cases, alimony is intended to be a transitional aid to help people move towards financial independence. Interruptions or setbacks may merit a revision of an end date.

Provisions in an Agreement Concerning Modification

An agreement may explicitly state what events may entitle a person to an opportunity to revise an agreement. For example, an agreement could have a clause specifying that payments are contingent on a person earning a certain amount of money. Similarly, agreements could stipulate that they remain in effect only so long as a recipient does not remarry or cohabitate with someone else.

Ultimately, it is imperative that anyone who wishes to change an agreement or judicial decree go through the right legal channels to do so. Even if both parties to an order agree on a change, they have to commemorate the change in a modification or addendum. A family attorney in Tampa, FL from a firm like the McKinney Law Group can assist with your possible alimony agreement.