Alimony After divorce: The Grounds on Which Modification is Possible
Some couples after getting divorced believe that alimony or spousal support once ordered by the courts can not be amended. This is however not true because the spouse (wife or husband) who is financially dependent upon the other may undergo a change in the earning capacity or the spouse who supports the other may undergo a change in the capacity to pay. Yet, the modifications in alimony vary from state to state and it’s wise to be aware of such state laws.
In Tacoma City, Washington, for example, the grounds for making modifications in alimony might be different from that in Morrisville, Pennsylvania. You may be able to ask for a low in making alimony payments to your spouse but the common grounds that may govern every state law are being discussed here in this blog to get you some respite.
In the event of a temporary hardship
If the spouse faces a temporary hardship such as loss of job, illness and then inability to continue with the current job, the courts can decrease the amount of support to be extended to the payee. The vice-versa rule also applies in the order that if the payee who receives the spousal support becomes incapable of making an income, he/she may file a petition in the court to ask for an increase in the amount of support. There will be a set timeframe within which such a clause will exist at the end of which the support payment will revert back to the original.
In the event of a change in state laws
The state laws in relation to the divorce may change from time to time and when that happens, the modification laws too may change.
In case of a dependent cohabitating with someone other than the payor
In the event that an ex-spouse may begin to live with someone else who is an intimate partner, the payor can ask the court for a reduction or termination of payment to be made to the divorced partner.
In case of a decreased need for support
If the partner who is at the receiving end of payment starts making an income better than the payee or becomes dependent on someone else after remarriage or cohabitation, the court can reduce or terminate the amount of payment.
In the event of an increase in the cost of living
As a payor, you can ask the court to reduce the amount of payment, if the normal cost of living increases due to a change in the national law such as inflation, taxation, or any other. Similarly, the payee may request an increase in the payment, if the cost of living increases.
In the event of financial exigency or disability
It is quite logical to ask for a modification in payment, whether it’s an increase or decrease, by payor or payee, if one of the two becomes disabled or faces a financial exigency.
If the payor remarries
If you are a payor and remarry, you may request the court to reduce the amount of payment to be made to your ex-spouse.
When there’s a clause in the divorce decree
In order to save yourself the hassle of asking for a modification in payment much later after your divorce, you can also have clauses prewritten in the original divorce decree. You can have both the ‘escalator clause’ and ‘cost of living clause’. An escalator clause is the one where it is known that the payor would receive a raise in the yearly cost of living hence the payee will receive an automatic increase in the support payment. In the cost of living clause, it is predetermined that if there will be a fluctuation in the cost of living, the alimony or support payment will also increase or decrease.
In the event of a mutual agreement
Sometimes both the payer and payee may come to an agreement for a modification in the payment without going to the court but this may create problems later if one of the two does not agree to the payment terms and conditions. In order to have the payment terms enforced, both should get the modified document of alimony signed by a judge.
Besides being aware of all the common grounds for modification in alimony, you should also be aware of the fact that any change in the original alimony will not be made easily unless it is supported by strong evidences in the form of financial documents. The fnancial documents could be paystubs, tax returns, bank statements, or income from some other source.
Now whether you are a payor or the payee, you might be in need of a divorce lawyer who can appeal in the court on your behalf for modification in the original alimony. The divorce attorneys in Pierce County, Washington are experienced attorneys and can resolve your case without much hassle.