In many cases, a judge will order one party to make alimony payments to the other in the aftermath of a divorce. However, circumstances sometimes change and, if they are substantial enough, the paying party may request a modification and reduce or eliminate alimony payments. For example, if you were recently laid off or demoted, a judge would likely consider this a substantial change in circumstances that warrant a modification of alimony.
When Will a Judge Modify Alimony?
If you can no longer keep up with your alimony payments, consider speaking to your former spouse about lowering your payments. If you can reach an agreement, this will save you some time, though you will still need to go through the proper legal channels to ensure it is enforceable. Otherwise, it is possible you may still be responsible for any missed payments if your ex-spouse has a change of heart on your agreement.
If you cannot reach an agreement with your former spouse, you must take the matter to court as soon as possible. To receive a modification of your alimony payments, you will have to prove a substantial change in circumstances.
Below are some examples of changes in circumstances a judge will consider:
- Your former spouse remarried or is living with a new partner: If your former spouse remarries, it will automatically terminate your alimony payments. If your former spouse lives with a new partner, it will not automatically terminate alimony, but a judge will likely consider this a substantial enough change in circumstances to reduce or eliminate your payments.
- You involuntarily lost your job or took a pay cut: If you were laid off or demoted, you can receive a reduction in your alimony payments, though it might be temporary, until you find a new job. If you left your job or took on a position with fewer responsibilities by choice, however, your request for a modification might not be successful, especially if a judge believes you are trying to avoid paying alimony.
- You developed a disability: If your disability prevents you from working or requires you to take a job with lower income, a judge will likely grant your request for a modification.
- You have new financial responsibilities: If you remarried and started a new family, continuing to make the same spousal support payments will likely be a major hardship. To lessen your financial burdens, a judge will likely reduce your spousal support obligation.
Schedule a Consultation with a Family Law Attorney Today!
If you wish to reduce your alimony payments, you must secure skilled legal guidance. At Kay Polk, Attorney at Law, our family law attorney will guide you through the process of requesting a post-divorce modification that is more suitable for your current lifestyle. Our team has been helping families overcome the most challenging family law matters since 2000 and would be honored to do the same for you.
Get started on your case today and reach out to our law office at (713) 234-6260 to set up a confidential case review.