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Is it possible to modify your divorce agreement for: lifetime alimony and increase child support based on ex's higher income

Palm Harbor, FL |

My divorce was final in 2006, I was granted full custody of my two children, 6 and 11 at the time. I was granted child support based on my husband's income and alimony until the youngest turned 18. I was a stay at home Mom and was paid well to raise my boys. Now at the age of 50 I would like to petition for alimony for life since I have sacrificed so many years being the custodial parent. My ex was the one who filed for divorce because of his own infidelity, he had no interest in joint custody but has regular visitation. The older son is now 19 and I have lost his support already. If increased child support is granted can it be retroactive? The ex in question is a high level executive.

We had been married for 17 years when the divorce was final, we had relocated 7 times in 10 years to follow his career and accept promotions so having any career of my own was highly unlikely. I did not contest the divorce and our agreement was handled by a family friend.

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Attorney answers 4


It may be possible to file a Supplemental Petition to Modify Child Support and a Supplemental Petitioner to Modify Alimony, but you will need to allege some significant change in circumstances to warrant the modification. Perhaps his income has significantly increased? Have you developed some sort of disability or are otherwise handicapped? Alimony ending when the children reach majority may be inadequate, as that was clearly contemplated at the time the Agreement was entered.

You indicate you were married for 17 years at the time the dissolution was finalized, but how long were you married when the dissolution was filed? The length of the marriage is defined by statute as measured from the date of marriage to the date of filing (not date of final judgment). For marriages greater than 17 years, there is a rebuttable presumption of permanent periodic alimony. It sounds like you were awarded something like durational alimony, even though that was not officially created by the Legislature until 2010.

Child support may be awarded retroactively, but only to the date of filing of the supplemental petition to modify child support.

Absent some additional information indicating a significant change in circumstances, it may be quite challenging to modify the current child support and the current alimony amount and duration.

This is only general advice and should not be considered a specific legal assessment of your case or advice that would create an attorney-client relationship. For a consultation contact our office at (813) 287-2227.


Highly unlikely that you can convert the alimony to permanant periodic alimony. I need to review your paperwork. Contact my office for free consultation 727-446-7659-


It sounds like you entered into a Marital Settlement Agreement. This imposes a "heavier burden" in terms of modification. Furthermore, I would not be surprised if the agreement stated that your alimony is non-modifiable. There are, however, ways to POTENTIALLY render this agreement void, such as proving non-disclosure of assets by your husband, fraud, duress, etc., bu more facts would be needed to make that determination. Please note, voiding such an agreement is in all likelihood a long shot. I would recommend consulting with an attorney.


There are several potential issues that could come into play. The only way to answer your question would be to actually review your Final Judgment and Marital Settlement Agreement. You should make arrangements to confer with an attorney.

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