Spousal support, often called “alimony” or “palimony,” should not be an undue burden on your finances. It should be based on the incomes of each spouse, and it should maintain an equal standard of living for both people.
If you can’t keep up with your spousal support payments, it’s time to review the original plan. There are many legitimate reasons to modify these payments. Here are some of the most common.
- A Semi-Permanent Job Change
If you lost your job or were demoted, you may be eligible for an alimony adjustment.
Regarding this situation, there are a couple of important factors to keep in mind. First, this change looks like it will last for some time. If you have marketable experience in a high-demand field, the court may assume that your career problems will turn around. In that case, it may not allow a modification.
Next, the job change cannot be your fault. If you were fired or demoted because of your performance, the court isn’t likely to take mercy on you.
- A Remarriage
Some alimony agreements are designed to end the moment the receiving spouse remarries.
Even when that isn’t part of your original plan, your ex’s remarriage could affect your payments. Technically, getting remarried will change your spouse’s income. Marital assets generally include both spouses’ incomes. Any time your spouse makes more money, you may be able to plead for lower spousal support payments.
- A Mistake in the Original Plan
If you’ve always had difficulty keeping up with alimony or palimony payments, it may be time to review the original court order. Spousal support payments may call for adjustment. They can affect your lifestyle, but they should not leave you destitute.
If you’ve always struggled to keep up with your payments, talk to an attorney. They can help you go over the original plan. If they see a mistake or evidence of a court making an unfair ruling, they can help you challenge this plan. It may be necessary to return to court and plead for an adjustment that makes your payments more reasonable.
Changes Can Go Either Way
Keep in mind, all these changes apply to you, as well. The person receiving spousal support can call for modifications just like a paying spouse can.
If you get promoted and make far more money, your spouse may have grounds to ask for more support. Conversely, if they make more money, you can ask to have payments reduced.
If you remarry, there isn’t much reason for your ex to ask for a bigger portion of support. This is not always true, however. A clever attorney could find legal loopholes that demand a response from you and your lawyer.
Mistake in the Original Plan
Neither spouse should be left hungry by a spousal support order. If your ex simply isn’t receiving enough money, there may be a problem with the original plan. In a situation like this, make sure to work with your attorney toward a fair solution. You don’t want to leave your ex in need, but you also don’t want the imbalance to fall back on you.
If you need help with any post-decree modifications, reach out to our firm today. You can fill out our online contact form or call us at (914) 752-5333.