This article talks about alimony modification, also known as spousal support modification in the event of change of circumstance or illness, or some other type of reason. Spousal support modification or a change in alimony may occur if the grounds for spousal support modification is met. There must be a change in need of the payee or a change in the ability to pay by the payer for a post judgment modification of alimony or spousal support. It is possible for alimony to be lowered for the payer, raised for the payee, or terminated completely. Each state has different divorce laws that deal with the payment of alimony and what it takes to have alimony payments modified. Consulting with an attorney will make it easier to understand what options a person has when trying to modify alimony payments. There are a variety of reasons why a person can have alimony payments modified and they include an agreement to modify alimony, a cost of living adjustment clause, an escalator clause, temporary modification of spousal support and a change of circumstance. The items included in a change of circumstance are a change in law, cohabitation, cost of living increase, decreased need for support, disability, financial emergency, and new support obligation.
Spousal Support Modification: Outside of Court
An agreement to modify spousal support or alimony can be made between former spouses that details the new terms of the spousal support payments. Agreeing to new terms for spousal support can be done without the court getting involved but should be done in the presence of both party’s attorneys. If one of the ex-spouses refuses to honor the agreement at a later date then legal troubles can ensue. The other ex-spouse will be able to sue for not following the terms of the new agreement, which are legally binding. If the new agreement is not signed by a judge then it cannot be enforced by the court if problems arise afterward. If a judge does sign the agreement then the court can get involved in any legal troubles with the agreement when it arises.
Spousal Support: Cost of Living Clause
The need to modify spousal support can be avoided if a cost of living adjustment clause is included in a couple’s original divorce decree. This clause means that alimony or spousal support payments will increase at a rate equal to the annual cost of living for an individual in the country. An escalator clause is another way for former spouses to avoid modifying their spousal support payment amounts. An escalator clause says that the spousal support payments will increase if the payer’s income increase at any time during their spousal support period. Escalator clauses are usually included in original divorce decrees to make the process easier.
Due To Illness
A temporary modification of spousal support can also take place if an illness occurs, if a person loses their job, or another condition occurs that causes severe hardship on a person’s financial accounts. If the spouse receiving the spousal support becomes ill or loses his or her job then the court can increase the amount of spousal support paid to help them through this tough time. On the other side of things the court can reduce the amount of spousal support if the payer becomes ill or loses his or her job. The payments will revert back to the original amount after a specific period of time named by the court.
Change of Circumstance
A change of circumstance can be an increase in income of the payee, which means that the amount of spousal support being paid will decrease. A decrease in income of the payee means that the amount of spousal support will be increased to help the payee survive. Other changes of circumstance include a change in law, cohabitation, cost of living increase, decreased need for support, disability, financial emergency and a new support obligation. If an ex-spouse cohabitates with another person then spousal support might be canceled by the court. Spousal support will more than likely be voided by the court if the person receiving the payments remarries.