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Understanding Alimony Fraud and your Divorce

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When the court creates an alimony order, it does so to protect the lesser earning spouse from facing financial hardship after the divorce is finalized. In most cases, alimony is only granted for a specific period of time, rather than indefinitely. To determine an appropriate alimony amount and duration, the court considers a variety of factors, such as each spouse’s current income and future earning potential, each spouse’s assets following the divorce, each spouse’s financial needs, and each spouse’s age and health status.

The court can only create an appropriate alimony order if it has accurate information about the above factors. Providing the court with incorrect information in an effort to receive a larger amount of money or to receive it for a longer period of time is known as alimony fraud, which can create financial hardship for the paying spouse. 

Examples of Alimony Fraud

There are many ways an individual can commit alimony fraud, such as:

  • Hiding assets during the divorce process;
  • Concealing his or her true income. This could mean working “under the table” or underreporting his or her income;
  • Quitting a job or intentionally getting fired in an effort to increase his or her alimony amount;
  • Providing the court with false information about his or her income or assets; and
  • Misrepresenting information related to other court orders, like a child support order.

An individual might also commit alimony fraud after his or her divorce is finalized by failing to disclose his or her remarriage or cohabitation with a new partner. An individual who seeks an extension to his or her alimony order despite having and hiding regular income is also committing alimony fraud.

What Can I Do if I Suspect my Former Partner is Committing Alimony Fraud?

Document everything you know that supports your suspicion and report it to your lawyer. Your lawyer will work with you and the court to seek a modification to the alimony order, which could ultimately result in the order being terminated.

When you seek a modification to your alimony order, the onus is on you to prove that your former partner has experienced substantially changed circumstances that necessitate modifying or terminating the order. Your body of evidence can include tax documents, information related to your former spouse’s employment, the true value of his or her assets, and even information taken from social media and public record related to his or her new marriage or cohabitation. Depending on the circumstances at play, you might be able to recover compensation for the money you lost due to the fraud. 

Work with an Experienced Orlando Divorce Lawyer

If you suspect your former spouse is committing alimony fraud or that he or she committed it while your divorce was pending, work with an experienced Orlando divorce lawyer to bring the truth forward and potentially reconfigure your alimony order. To get started with our team, contact The Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. to schedule your initial legal consultation.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/Sections/0061.08.html

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