Your divorce is a major financial transaction. If you go into settlement negotiations or litigation without a well formulated game plan, then you could end up with an outcome that leaves you on shaky financial footing.
To avoid any long-term money woes that may accompany your divorce, then, you need to know how to aggressively tackle issues such as property and asset division and permanent alimony. By building strong legal arguments, you’ll hopefully recover your fair share of the marital estate and an award of permanent alimony, thereby providing you with the financial stability that you need.
Yet, as time goes on, there’s a chance that you may need to seek additional legal action to gain access to the financial resources you deserve. This is especially true in the context of spousal support and permanent alimony.
When can permanent alimony be modified?
Although an initial permanent alimony award might provide you with some financial support, the circumstances of your spouse’s financial situation at the time of the property and asset division may preclude you from recovering what you otherwise deserve. As a result, when circumstances change, you might be justified in seeking an alimony modification.
To be clear, here we are discussing a permanent alimony award. A permanent alimony award is a financial monthly obligation the higher earning spouse pays to the lower earning spouse after the divorce proceedings and litigation are finalized. Permanent Alimony requires careful legal argument and strategy. As opposed to an A.P.L. or alimony pedente lite award which is a financial monthly obligation the higher earning spouse pays to the lower earning spouse during the divorce proceedings and litigation. Spousal support in general is designed to put the lower earning spouse in a position to financially stabilize themselves both during and after the divorce proceedings and litigation.
To succeed on a motion to modify your permanent alimony award, you’ll have to present evidence that proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. With that in mind, here are some situations that may warrant an alimony modification in your case:
- Your spouse gets a new job: If your former spouse is promoted or secures a new job with higher pay, then you might be justified in seeking spousal support modification. After all, your former spouse now has more funds to lift you up closer to the marital standard of living. Here, you’ll need to gather evidence of your former spouse’s new income, which should be easy enough by utilizing the power of a subpoena. Just remember, if your former spouse ends up being demoted or losing their job, then you might face a modification to decrease the amount of spousal support paid.
- You unexpectedly face income loss: Losing your job can leave you in a difficult financial position. Fortunately, if your job loss was involuntarily and you’ve taken steps to mitigate your financial damage, then you might have a valid argument to seek an increase in your spousal support amount. Keep in mind, though, that choosing not to work won’t garner any sympathy from the court.
- Your expenses have dramatically increased: Before your divorce is finalized, you should have an idea of what your budget is going to look like. But life changes, sometimes in the blink of an eye, leaving you in a dire financial predicament. This often happens when unanticipated medical issues arise. So, if your household expenses have significantly increased, be sure to document them and retain your bills so that you can use them as evidence in your request to modify alimony.
You’ll have to appear in court for a hearing on the matter. This doesn’t preclude you from trying to negotiate resolution with your former spouse, but you should be armed with evidence, ready to litigate your motion if it comes to that.
Are you ready to fight for the alimony that you deserve?
If circumstances have significantly changed since your spousal support order was issued, then now is the time to consider modification so that you can try to recover what you’re owed. It might be a contentious battle, but it’s one that you need to face to protect your long-term financial interests. Fortunately, you can find help with your permanent alimony dispute so that you give yourself the best possible chance of success under your circumstances.