Out of all of the issues that need to be resolved during a divorce in Florida, alimony is almost guaranteed to be the most contentious because it aims to compensate and continue to support a financially-dependent spouse. Avoiding these disputes with prenuptial or postnuptial agreements can be a wise move, though a modification can also be made to an alimony agreement if it proves unwieldy and the payor wants to avoid the penalties of failing to pay alimony.
How Alimony Works in Florida
Alimony is a regular post-divorce payment from a financially-secure spouse to the financially-dependent spouse. It is often contentious precisely because it raises some of the very marital problems that are most likely to have led to the divorce, in the first place, like the professional sacrifices that one spouse made for the marriage.
However, alimony also serves an important purpose in divorce law: It keeps a financially-dependent spouse afloat by providing them a source of income, allowing non-working spouses in terrible or even abusive marriages to file for divorce without losing all of their financial support.
Avoiding the Alimony Conflict: Prenuptials and Post-Nuptials
There is a way to avoid the intense conflict that alimony discussions can create: Marital agreements made either before or after the marriage.
These are prenuptial agreements or post-nuptial agreements. While many people think that they are only for the wealthy, and only serve to list the property that someone is bringing into the marriage so it will not become part of the marital estate and split in a divorce, these agreements can also delineate how alimony would work, should the couple end up divorcing.
When Alimony Orders Become Unworkable: Modifications
When a court awards alimony to one spouse in a divorce, the order can carry the weight of strict penalties for non-compliance. However, courts also recognize that people's lives and situations change – particularly after a divorce. When those life changes become substantial and impact the finances of either spouse so much that the alimony order is no longer working, the order can be changed. Requesting a modification from the court that issued the alimony order can help struggling spouses make ends meet.
However, these modifications can also pose a threat to spouses who are relying on alimony payments. Defending against a modification can be just as important as seeking one out.
The Penalties of Not Paying Alimony
If you cannot or do not pay alimony, judges can take action to force you to satisfy your alimony obligation, including by garnishing your wages or even seizing property like your car or putting a lien on your home. Interest can be added to your balance, increasing the amount you owe. Not paying alimony can even rise to the level of contempt of court, an offense that can be punished with a fine and even jail time.
John V. Moore Helps People Resolve Alimony Disputes in Florida
John V. Moore is a family and divorce lawyer who can represent you and advocate for your interests in the crucial alimony discussion. Contact him online or call him at (321) 426-0209.