Can I Get Alimony After My Divorce is Final in Florida?

By Heather Frances J.D.

When Florida spouses divorce, they can agree to terms such as property division, child custody and alimony. If they can’t agree, a Florida court will issue decisions on these terms as part of a divorce decree. Alimony is typically addressed at the time of the divorce because, with few exceptions, after the divorce is final, it’s too late for the court to award alimony.

When Florida spouses divorce, they can agree to terms such as property division, child custody and alimony. If they can’t agree, a Florida court will issue decisions on these terms as part of a divorce decree. Alimony is typically addressed at the time of the divorce because, with few exceptions, after the divorce is final, it’s too late for the court to award alimony.

Asking for Alimony

Generally, courts can only award alimony to a spouse if that spouse asks for it during the divorce proceedings. Requests for alimony can be included in the spouse’s original petition for divorce or requested later in other pleadings. However, judges typically cannot award alimony unless a spouse asks for it.

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Returning to Court

Florida allows spouses to return to court after the divorce decree is final to modify an existing alimony award. For example, a recipient spouse could ask the court for an alimony increase if her financial situation has significantly changed. A paying spouse could also ask the court for a change, such as a decrease if he becomes disabled and unable to work. However, spouses cannot typically go back to the court to ask for alimony after the divorce is final if alimony was not awarded in the original decree.

Fraud

If one spouse hides assets or income during the divorce, a Florida court might permit the other spouse to reopen the divorce proceedings because of this fraud. Florida law doesn’t want a spouse to be able to benefit by committing fraud during a court proceeding. If the divorce is reopened, the innocent spouse can ask for alimony in the reopened case based on the new discovery of the previously hidden assets.

Nominal Alimony

Since Florida courts usually lose the ability to award alimony after the divorce is finalized, the divorce court can award “nominal” alimony in order to keep the issue open for later review. For example, the court can award nominal alimony if alimony would otherwise be appropriate but the paying spouse is unable to pay because he does not have a job at the time of the divorce. By awarding a small amount of alimony, the court preserves its ability to award substantial alimony in the future should the receiving spouse wish to ask the court for more. However, the court can only award nominal alimony if there is a likelihood that a change of circumstances in the future would warrant an alimony award.

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References

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In Georgia, What Determines Alimony?

Alimony in Georgia is also referred to as spousal support. Georgia courts do not automatically award spousal support -- even in the case of a long-term marriage. Instead, a Georgia court considers several factors to determine whether or not to award alimony, as well as the type and amount of alimony that is appropriate.

How to Stop Permanent Alimony

Alimony, a financial award of support from one spouse to another in divorce, may be permanent in some cases. Courts commonly award temporary or rehabilitative alimony; these types of alimony end on a specific date or when the receiving spouse is able to support herself. Permanent alimony, by contrast, has no specific end. Whether a paying spouse can end permanent alimony depends on why the alimony was awarded and what has changed since the original award.

How Can I Get Alimony Modified in Florida?

Alimony is monetary support one spouse pays to the other after a divorce. In Florida, temporary, or rehabilitative, alimony is paid to provide a spouse with the opportunity to rehabilitate career or work skills. Permanent alimony is paid indefinitely, usually in long marriages where the receiving spouse did not develop work skills during the marriage. Florida courts modify alimony when there has been a substantial change in circumstances.

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