During a divorce, a couple who has been together several years may agree upon, or a family court may order, financial support to be paid from one spouse to the other. These payments are known as alimony and are often appointed to help a spouse who earns significantly less than the other maintain their lifestyle after separation. Termination of alimony occurs when the payments are no longer necessary.
The attorneys with Silverman and Mack, LLC can help you during the process from start to finish. Our team of attorneys is well versed in all matters concerning alimony. For further information on alimony payments or answers to questions about your unique case, call us to request a free consultation!
Reasons Alimony May Be Terminated
There are many types of alimony, each awarding different amounts for different durations. However, even in cases of permanent alimony, these payments aren’t necessarily meant to last forever. Upon significant changes in circumstances, alimony payments can be terminated. The following are a few examples of situations in which alimony might end.
Should the supported spouse begin cohabitating with another person, alimony payments may be terminated. In these cases, cohabitation is a living arrangement between a supported spouse and an individual who is not related by blood or law but provides financial support. Florida courts consider cohabitation a form of remarriage and allow alimony termination in these cases to deter supported spouses from moving in with another romantic partner and avoiding loss of alimony by never being formally remarried.
In the State of Florida, alimony payments will automatically terminate in the event the supported spouse remarries. On the date of the remarriage, and without needing to return to court, the paying spouse will be able to cease alimony payments. However, keep in mind that remarriage often does not affect the paying spouse’s responsibility to transfer property or make a lump-sum alimony payment. Also, for alimony to be terminated, the supported spouse must be legally remarried. If a supported spouse has a ceremony that is not lawfully binding, cohabitation must be proven before payments are ceased.
Self-Sufficiency & Agreement
In certain circumstances, ex-spouses may come to an agreement that alimony can officially end. Usually, this agreement comes on the heels of the previously-supported spouse obtaining a significant increase in their income or earnings and deciding they can be entirely self-supporting. Adversely, should a court discover that a supported spouse has been making no discernible effort to achieve self-sufficiency, alimony payments may be terminated earlier than initially ruled.
The paying spouse can petition the court seeking alimony termination if circumstances arise that make payment nearly impossible. Some circumstances the courts will look for before allowing the petition include unemployment, an illness that prohibits work, and whether payment would cause severe financial hardship. Additionally, courts will only allow the petition if the circumstance was out of the petitioner’s control. This is to prevent paying spouses from quitting their jobs for the express purpose of filing a petition.
Can Alimony Be Renewed Later?
No, alimony cannot be renewed after termination. For a supported spouse to extend alimony payments, they would need to request that the court modify alimony before the date of termination. In cases where the paying spouse petitioned to end payments, even if they later regain financial security alimony cannot be resurrected. Once alimony is terminated, the arrangement is final, and neither spouse will be able to renew it in the future.