Modification of Alimony Part 7 of 7 | Divorce Attorney Fort Myers/Naples

Abatement/Suspension of Alimony Obligation

  • Where the payor lacks the present ability to pay through no fault of his or her own, the payor should not be subjected to the accrual of arrearages. Bennett v.    of Revenue, 664 So.2d 33, 35 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995).
  • If unemployment is involuntary and temporary in nature (less than one year), such a situation would not meet the standard of a substantial change in circumstances warranting modification. See Freeman V. Freeman, 615 So.2d 225 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993). However, if the payor demonstrates that, at least temporarily, he or she lacks the ability to pay, the court should suspend the payment obligation (rather than modify). See Bennett v. Dept. of Revenue, 664 So.2d 33 (Fla. 5th DCA  1995).
  • When inability to pay support alimony arises, court must suspend payments until ability is restored, unless inability is result of intentional refusal to work or other willfully created inability. Davis v. Davis, 528 So.2d 34 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998).
  • It is error to permanently reduce alimony where a permanent reduction in income is not proven; however, if requested, temporary relief may be granted upon a showing of a temporary change of circumstance. Gardiner v. Gardiner, 705 So. 2d 1018 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998) (husband had testified that his involuntary unemployment was not permanent and he expected to be rehired, thus he was not entitled to have the alimony modified, but was entitled to have the payments suspended during the current period of his unemployment); Whetstone v. Whetstone, 710 So. 2d 749 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998).

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