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Termination of Alimony


Family in need of attorney

The Gainesville Family Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. represent clients in all aspects of spousal support proceedings, including those involving the termination of alimony. There are several grounds for terminating a support order issued by a Florida court. While some depend on the specific type of alimony awarded, others apply generally to all forms of periodic support. Whether you are payer or recipient, knowing the circumstances by which support can potentially be terminated is an important consideration both in establishing initial support orders, as well as following the entry of an order awarding alimony.

Regardless of type, periodic support payments can terminate in two main scenarios—remarriage or death. While termination based upon marital status applies only to situations where the spouse receiving support remarries, termination based upon demise applies to the death of either party. However, in some cases, divorcing spouses may choose to incorporate terms into their settlement agreement to address how certain matters will be handled in the event one of the parties dies, such as life insurance as security. As such, having an attorney that can ensure the careful drafting of marital settlement agreements is critical, because such agreements are contractual in nature, and therefore survive the death of either party to the contract.

In addition to death and remarriage, termination can also occur based upon a substantial change in circumstances. Generally speaking, a significant variation in one’s financial resources can provide grounds for termination of alimony, or in the very least, modification of support. There are a variety of factors that can affect a person’s economic position and allow for payments to be terminated, including disability or illness; loss or change of employment; and financial gain through inheritance or investment, to name a few.

Evidence of the recipient’s cohabitation in a relationship found to be ‘supportive’ in nature can also result in termination of alimony. Supportive relationships occur primarily when a prior spouse is cohabitating with another party, even though they are not married. These relationships are interdependent and imply mutual financial support for one another. Supportive relationships would theoretically negate the need for financial support from a previous marriage. Termination based upon this theory is a relatively recent development in Florida, and as such, is one of the termination basis that is certainly best handled through the assistance of an experienced alimony attorney.

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In cases involving rehabilitative alimony, Florida Statute §61.08(6)(c) provides termination grounds that are unique to this form of support. Here, a payer may request to terminate payments when the recipient either fails to comply with, or has completed, the ‘rehabilitative plan’ that formed the basis for awarding support. As with other types of alimony, changed circumstances can provide a payer with grounds for terminating rehabilitative support payments.

It is important to know that termination of spousal support will not occur automatically. Rather, a formal request for termination must be made to the appropriate court having jurisdiction over the matter. In most cases, this is the court that granted the initial award for support, but may also be the circuit court in which either party resided at the time of executing the marital settlement agreement, or reside at the time of requesting termination. [To read more on this topic, seeJurisdiction and Venue.’]

Termination of alimony can have a profound effect—on both parties. On one side, there is a payer seeking to eliminate (or limit) a financial obligation, or, in the very least to obtain downward reduction. On the other side, there is a recipient that is facing a possibility of losing the economic support they rely upon, and who wants to prevent termination and/or limit any downward modification. Having represented clients on both ‘sides of the fence,’ the client focused results driven Alimony Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A., offer the unique combination of practice experience that has enabled us to understand the best approach to take, in both requesting and defending, the termination or reduction of alimony payments.