Can I Terminate Alimony Payments Because of COVID-19 Job Loss?
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in job loss for millions of people across the United States, and Florida is no exception. Many people have been terminated, furloughed, or had their hours cut significantly due to their employer’s economic hardships. For people who have additional expenses like spousal support payments, this change in employment status can be even more stressful. One common question being asked is whether spousal support can be terminated because of job loss and talking with an experienced Florida family law attorney can answer this and many other questions you may have during this difficult time. Call or contact the law office of Blair H. Chan, III today to schedule a free case consultation.
Types of Florida Alimony
There are five different types of alimony that may be ordered by the court or agreed to during divorce negotiations. Temporary alimony is awarded while a divorce is ongoing to help with expenses. Bridge-the-gap alimony assists a former spouse in transitioning to a single income immediately after the divorce. Rehabilitative alimony helps a former spouse cover the costs of education and training to reenter the job market, and durational alimony provides payments to a spouse for a set period after a divorce. Finally, permanent alimony is support for an indefinite duration, which is only awarded in specific situations.
Modifying or Terminating Spousal Support
Florida courts allow for a former spouse paying alimony to modify or even terminate spousal support payments if there is a substantial change in circumstances since the divorce was finalized. The change must be material, involuntary, and unexpected that impacts the ability to pay support. When modifying alimony payments, the court may order the amount of support reduced in total or per payment depending on the type of alimony in your case. It may also suspend all support payments for a period of time if the change in circumstances is not a permanent change. In the case of the pandemic, a court may reduce or suspend alimony payments until the payee finds new employment or regains their full-time status as an employee.
In order to terminate alimony payments based on a substantial change in circumstances, the situation must be extreme. The change must usually be permanent and significantly impact the former spouse’s ability to pay support. In the COVID-19 era, one example would be the payee spouse contracting the virus and incurring overwhelming amounts of medical debt. Another example may be the payee spouse losing their job and being forced to declare bankruptcy because of a complete inability to pay bills. Talk to a knowledgeable Florida family law attorney today to learn more.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If you have questions about modifying or terminating Florida alimony payments to a former spouse, a Tampa spousal support lawyer at the law office of Blair H. Chan, III can help. Call the office or contact us today to schedule a free evaluation of your spousal support case.