During a divorce settlement, you were ordered to pay alimony. Regardless of what you thought of the decision then, you have been paying it since the end of your marriage. What happens if you begin to struggle to make payments due to other financial obligations or circumstances? There are ways that you can modify your payments.
Change of Circumstance
Most states require there to be a substantial change to modify alimony payments. Since every state has different laws, you may want to discuss the specifics of your state’s laws with an attorney. You can decrease your alimony payments, but there are only a few circumstances where this might be allowed.
If your former spouse received a raise or a substantial increase in his or her income, then you can ask for a downward modification. Your ex no longer needs your support. Likewise, if you lost your job or lost a substantial amount of income, you may be unable to make payments. Whenever you are struggling to make payments due to your income level, you can request to modify your payments.
Medical bills, disabilities, and financial emergencies are also reasons that some people choose to lower their alimony payments. If you have skyrocketing medical bills or can no longer work due to disability, the courts will consider it.
In addition to your finances, if your former spouse marries another person or moves in with someone else, you may have grounds to change the alimony agreement. Any substantial life change that may affect your finances or your spouse’s can be taken into consideration.
Agreement to Modify
In addition to a change in your circumstances, you can also agree with your former spouse. If your spouse agrees that the amount you pay should be lower, then you can make an agreement. While you can make this agreement out of court, it is always suggested that you do so with the court’s approval. If your spouse decides to go back on the agreement and you did not have court approval, then the court may still enforce the old alimony agreement.
If you cannot pay your alimony, you do not have to keep struggling. Circumstances change and you may not live the same lifestyle that you did when you were still married. Instead of forcing yourself to pay alimony when you can’t afford it, consider setting up a consultation with a lawyer, like a divorce lawyer from Scroggins Law Group, to discuss your options for alimony modification.