Once a divorce is concluded, either by agreement of the parties or a court order, the parties often believe that the process is finished. Unfortunately, life can be uncertain, and the circumstances of one or both spouses can change in unforeseen ways after a divorce becomes final. The Florida legislature has established a procedure for modifying the terms of a marital termination agreement or order for divorce with respect to alimony if the party seeking change can meet the evidentiary requirements of the statute.
If the ex-spouses cannot reach agreement on how an order granting alimony should be changed, one or both must file a motion with the court specifying the kind of change that is requested and the reasons for the change. The motion must be filed with the court that granted the divorce or with the court in the judicial district where the moving party lives. The party seeking the change must allege and then prove that circumstances have changed and that a modification of the judgment is required. After considering the evidence, the court may make such modifications as, in the court’s opinion, are required by equity.
A separate ground for either reducing or eliminating the payment of alimony is a showing that the parent who is receiving support payments has entered into a “supportive relationship” with another person. The party who wishes to use such circumstances as the basis for an order reducing or eliminating alimony bears the burden of proving the existence of the supportive relationship. In all cases involving modification of an original order for alimony, the moving party bears the burden of convincing the court that the evidence justifies the requested change.