How Can I Terminate My Alimony Obligation?


When you are obligated to pay alimony to your former spouse, it is common to become frustrated or overwhelmed with the obligation, causing many seek methods for the termination of these awards. However, Florida law has specifically noted the methods or termination and modification of alimony awards. Therefore, if you are seeking to terminate an alimony obligation, speak to an attorney today, they will be able to determine if your case falls within a specific method allowing for termination of this support.

Death of either party. According to Florida statute, an alimony obligation will automatically terminate upon the death of either party. Therefore, if your former spouse passes away your alimony obligation will automatically terminate and no further claims, such as from their estate, may be made for future payments.

Remarriage of receiving party. The most common reason alimony is terminated in Florida is the remarriage of the receiving spouse. Upon a spouse entering a legally binding marriage, your alimony obligations will terminate. However, until the date of marriage you are responsible for these payments unless you can prove your spouse is engaged in a supportive relationship during this time.

Receive party is in a supportive relationship. The idea of a supportive relationship is a rather unique and progressive feature to Florida law and has become a source of contention between ex partners who have an outstanding alimony obligation. Supportive relationships involve cohabitation with a significant other, or friend, and expenses are shared between the parties. It is the burden of the party requesting the alimony termination to prove the existence of the supportive relationship by a preponderance of the evidence. Evidence such as how the couple holds themselves out to the public, the duration of cohabitation, and joint assets or debts may all be presented to the court. If the court finds there to be a supportive relationship, they may terminate the alimony obligation.

Substantial, uncontemplated, material, involuntary, and permanent change in circumstances. Generally, the only circumstances that meet this high threshold is the involuntary unemployment of the payor. For instance, if a party has been fired from their job and has actively sought equal employment to no avail, or has become disabled preventing their gainful employment, the court may terminate or modify an alimony award. Proving this standard will be on the party seeking to terminate the alimony award. However, as previously stated, this is a high threshold to overcome and a great deal of testimony, and evidence may be required in order to provide the court with adequate information and detail surrounding this substantial change.

Terms in Settlement Agreement. Outside of Florida Statutes, you may implement certain terms in your Marital Settlement Agreement determine when alimony obligations may terminate. These terms will supersede the Florida statutes and will instead be subject to contest through contract law. Therefore, if you have yet to settle your divorce action, you can negotiate certain terms for the termination of your alimony obligation outside of Florida Statutes. Couples may determine a specific date, a triggering event such as a spouse becoming employed, or any other qualifications agreed upon to define when an alimony award may terminate.

Although the methods of termination of an alimony award are clearly defined in Florida State law, in many cases you will need to argue your claim before a court and display the necessary factors in support. This is where your attorney’s experience and knowledge will be invaluable. We have spent a significant amount of time arguing alimony cases before courts, and our knowledge of the law will aid in a resolution to your case.

Speaking to an attorney at our Pensacola office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at (800) 822-5170 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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