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Will The Court Reduce Your Alimony Obligations If Your Ex-Spouse Gets A Full-Time Job?


When the court orders you to pay alimony to your ex-spouse, it can feel like an albatross around your neck, an obstacle to any kind of financial stability.  Getting the family court to modify your alimony order is possible if you can demonstrate that there has been a substantial change in circumstances for you or for your ex-spouse.  For example, you can modify your alimony award if you have been laid off from your job, become disabled, or reached retirement age.  You can also modify it because your ex-spouse has remarried or receives financial support from a romantic partner, therefore no longer needing support from you.  It stands to reason that, if your ex gets a full-time job, you should also get to terminate or reduce your alimony.  A Boca Raton alimony lawyer can protect you from your ex-spouse making a chump out of you when your alimony payments are not the only thing keeping your ex out of poverty.

Husband Agrees to Pay Permanent Alimony to Wife Who Waffled About Returning to Workforce Throughout Their Marriage

Gwendolyn and John were married for fifteen years.  She was working as a teacher when they married in 1995, but when their second child was born in 2000, she decided to stay out of the workforce indefinitely.  By the time the parties divorced in 2010, Gwendolyn still had not returned to the workforce, but she had kept her teaching license active, renewing it every five years.  In fact, throughout the marriage, the parties had discussed Gwendolyn’s eventual return to the teaching profession, but by the time of the divorce, the plans had not materialized.

During their divorce, the parties executed a marital settlement agreement in which they agreed that John would pay Gwendolyn $3,900 per month in permanent alimony.  The parties agreed that the amount was modifiable and would likely change when the children reached adulthood, when the marital home sold, and when Gwendolyn returned to work.  Seven years later, John was still making payments, with little money left for himself, while Gwendolyn was teaching full-time and earning $50,000 per year.  Both former spouses were in their early 50s by this time.  John petitioned the court to change the alimony from permanent to durational.

The appeals court ruled in 2021 to change the alimony award to durational.  The question remains why the parties agreed to permanent alimony in the first place.  Gwendolyn was in her 40s and held a teaching certification at the time of the divorce, and the children were in their teens.  It would have made more sense for the court to impute income to Gwendolyn and to base its alimony decisions on that.  Even though the parties signed a marital settlement agreement, their lawyers could have advised them that permanent alimony was not the most appropriate option in their case.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

An alimony lawyer can help you avoid paying alimony to a healthy ex-spouse who is well qualified for gainful employment.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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