The terms of your divorce decree are not designed to last forever. Luckily, former spouses can petition the court for modifications to accommodate their everchanging lives. If you can no longer make alimony payments to your former spouse due to a change in circumstances or you believe your former spouse’s circumstances changed so substantially that it should warrant either a reduction or termination of alimony payments, you must speak to an attorney as soon as possible.
Before you take the matter to court, however, you should discuss the matter with your ex-spouse. If you can reach an agreement regarding a reduction of your alimony payments, you can save yourself some time and money. That said, you must still have these changes approved by the court to ensure they are enforceable. No matter how good your relationship is with your former spouse, he or she can have a change of heart at any time, so you should cover all of your bases.
Reducing Your Alimony Payments
Generally, for a modification to be granted, you must prove that you experienced a change in circumstances. However, alimony may also be reduced or terminated based on your former spouse’s circumstances. For example, if he or she remarried, alimony payments would automatically cancel. If your former spouse is cohabitating with a new partner, you can also petition the court to terminate alimony payments. It is unlikely a judge will grant a reduction of alimony payments if your former spouse experienced a minor increase in income. If your ex’s income significantly increased, however, alimony payments may be reduced.
Below are some other examples of changes in circumstances that may result in a reduction of alimony payments:
- You involuntarily lost your job.
- You involuntarily took a pay cut.
- You developed a condition or disability that prevents you from maintaining gainful employment.
If you voluntarily quit your job or accepted a job with fewer responsibilities and reduced pay, a judge may not grant a modification to your alimony payments. Voluntarily leaving your job may be viewed as a tactic to pay less alimony to your spouse, which is why modifications are typically not granted under such circumstances.
Request a Consultation with a Knowledgeable Member of Our Legal Team
If you can no longer fulfill your obligation to pay alimony, you must request a modification to reduce these payments. You may also reduce or terminate these payments if your former spouse’s circumstances changed. Regardless of the reasons behind your request for a modification, you must hire an experienced attorney. At Sherwood, Johnson & Poles, our team is backed by more than six decades of combined experience, so you can rely on our team for the guidance and support you need to achieve the results you deserve.
Reach out to our law office today at (888) 224-1218 to request a free initial consultation with one of our trusted attorneys.