Modifying Alimony for Women

While the number of women in the labor force has drastically increased since 1890 when women began to enter the workforce in large numbers, the most recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show that approximately fifty-seven percent (57%) of women participate in the labor force, and seventy percent (70%) of women with children under the age of eighteen (18) participate in the labor force.

Additionally, according to a 2015 "TIME" article, approximately fifty-six percent (56%) of women would prefer to be homemakers. Given that, whether or not a woman is a "homemaker" or a "working woman," could have drastic effects on whether she could receive alimony and child support after a divorce.

Moreover, for women who do not work or who have left the workforce to become homemakers, reentering the workforce can be challenging without some financial support from an ex-spouse.

Attorney for Modifying Alimony for Women in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

There are a number of factors that affect whether an ex-spouse will receive alimony or child support. Some factors include ex-spouse's work potential, educational level, and the child's primary home. Having an experienced family law attorney who not only understands the value that homemakers bring to their households but who also understands the challenges of the workforce and childrearing will be invaluable when attempting to collect or modify an alimony agreement.

The attorneys at the Florida Women's Law Center are lawyers who have chosen to tackle women's issues in the courtrooms across South Florida and ensure that women have adequate and reliable legal services.

Our office is conveniently located at 401 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale, just minutes from Broward County Central Courthouse and we have taken cases in Miami, West Palm Beach, LaBelle, and East Naples, Florida.

Contact our office at (954) 500-5555 for a free no-obligations consultation.

Overview of Modifying Alimony for Women in Broward County

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How to Modify Alimony or Child Support?

Modifying alimony or child support both require that the requesting party demonstrate a “substantial, material, and involuntary change in circumstances.” The partying requesting the modification has the burden to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that their circumstances have changed or the obligee’s circumstances have changed, such that a modification would be just and equitable.

In Florida, some examples of a substantial change in circumstances may include the following:

  • change in income;
  • deterioration of the payor’s health;
  • retirement;
  • unexpected inheritance or gift;
  • obligee cohabitation

Modifying alimony in Florida is governed under Fla. Stat. § 61.14 and modifying child support falls under Fla. Stat. § 61.30. Thus, while both statutes are different and serve different familial support purposes, they both require showing that either party has been subject to a substantial change in circumstances.

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Why Would a Woman Modify Alimony?

The category of alimony awarded will be based on the circumstances surrounding the parties of the divorce, at the time of the divorce. In Florida, alimony is broken down into five (5) different categories.

  • Bridge-the-Gap Alimony – is designed to provide an ex-spouse with an easier transition from married to single life – especially for those ex-spouses who were married for a shorter period of time. Bridge-the-gap alimony may not exceed two (2) years.
  • Temporary Alimony – is based on the standard of living established during the marriage, the duration of the marriage, the financial resources of each party, and the earning capacities of each party. Women who have become accustomed to a certain lifestyle as established by her marriage may consider temporary alimony as she transitions to single life.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony – is designed to provide funds to an ex-spouse to allow him or her to establish a foundation to support themselves, by either redeveloping previous skills or undergoing training or education to develop a new skill. A woman may consider rehabilitative alimony if she left the workforce to become a homemaker or caregiver and needs to reenter the workforce after divorce.
  • Durational Alimony – may be awarded for any reason and that the court deems equitable and just. Durational alimony, like most other forms of alimony, may not be awarded for a longer period than the marriage lasted.
  • Permanent Alimony – lasts for the remainder of the ex-spouses lifetime, subject to modification by a court. Generally, permanent alimony is awarded after the end of very long marriages. The most common scenario involves a wife being a stay-at-home spouse for years and contributing to the well-being of the home, while the husband worked.

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Domestic Violence and Alimony

Financial control as a form of coercion plays a role in many domestic violence scenarios –especially those involving spouses. An abusive spouse will use the couple's finances as a way to keep the other party trapped by making them feel helpless and unable to seek help. Financial control is sufficient to maintain control over the entire family and may not only limit an individual's ability to seek professional help, but also his or hers ability to parent effectively. For example, an abusive spouse may want to pay family expenses directly, rather than make support payments to the co-parent.

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Additional Resources

Women's Bureau – Visit the U.S. Department of Labor to find the current and historical statistics on a wide range of topics concerning women in the workforce in the United States, from topics like the working age, labor force participation rates, mothers, and families etc…

A Judicial Guide to Child Safety in Custody Cases -- Visit the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), an organization that is devoted to ensuring justice for families in courts everywhere. NCJFCJ is one of the largest judicial membership organizations in the country with thousands of professionals in domestic relations the juvenile and family law justice system. Find out more information on establishing jurisdiction for custody determinations, how to file a custody modification and what to do if you want to change a custody order, but there is no emergency.

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Find an Attorney for Modifying Alimony or Child Support in Broward County, FL

Whether you are a working mother, a homemaker, or a woman who is seeking to reenter the workforce, seeking a modification of an alimony or child support agreement can be challenging. With today's shift in societal views on working women, child support, and who deserves alimony, having an experienced family law attorney to help navigate the legal pitfalls can be invaluable.

The family law attorneys at the Florida Women's Law Center are committed to fighting for the rights of parents and spouses who need aid throughout Florida. Our primary focus is on helping women in stressful family situations find relief and comfort through equal justice in the law. 

If you or someone you know is a mother who is worried for the safety or well-being of her child, contact the attorneys at the Florida Women's Law Center. We accept cases in Broward County, and in the surrounding areas of Palm Beach County, Collier County, Miami-Dade County, and Hendry County, Florida.

Call (954) 500-5555 now to set up a one-on-one consultation with one of our attorneys.

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