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According to Florida case law as of the date of this article, past-due installments of alimony become vested property rights of the spouse to whom the money is due:

“The final issue concerns the trial court’s unexplained reduction of the alimony arrearage. Past-due installments of alimony become vested property rights of the recipient. See Kennedy v. Kennedy, 464 So.2d 1289, 1292 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985). A trial court is not authorized to modify the arrearages involving alimony installments due and owing prior to the filing of a petition for modification. See Brisco v. Brisco, 355 So.2d 506, 508 (Fla. 2d DCA 1978); Steinau v. Steinau, 343 So.2d 631, 632 (Fla. 4th DCA 1977). Accord Van Loon v. Van Loon, 132 Fla. 535, 182 So. 205 (1938); State, Department of *1194 Revenue v. Screws, 688 So.2d 391, 392 (Fla. 2d DCA 1997); Burdick v. Burdick, 601 So.2d 632, 634 (Fla. 4th DCA 1992) (reversible error to discharge support arrearages which accumulated prior to filing of petition for modification).

In this case, the order of modification states in part: “The Court adjusts the pre-petition arrearage to be $5,000.00.” (emphasis supplied). Since the pre-petition alimony arrearages became a vested property right of the wife, the trial court erred in reducing the alimony arrearages which were already due prior to the date of the petition for modification.

In summary, we find no abuse of discretion in the trial court’s decision to order the former wife to pay child support, and to reduce the amount of the former husband’s permanent alimony obligation. However, we conclude the reduction of the pre-petition alimony arrearage constituted error, and reverse as to this issue.”

See: Dykes v. Dykes, 712 So. 2d 1189 – Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 1st Dist. 1998

Quick Tip: A recent change in the law eliminated permanent alimony for cases filed on or after July 1, 2023. This is why we say these articles are for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Florida law is always changing and the facts of each case are unique, which can impact the outcome of a case. Therefore, we strongly recommend talking with an experienced Florida lawyer to learn your rights. Learn more about the changes to permanent alimony in Florida and how we can help.




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