Most people who are headed for divorce are concerned about their financial stability when all is said and done. That is understandable given everything that is at stake. But even if you reach a settlement with your spouse that you think is in your best interests, circumstances can change, leaving you feeling cheated.
This is often the case when spousal support is in play. As incomes change and life events occur, a modification of spousal support may be warranted. So, if you think that you need to either increase or decrease an existing alimony award, you may want to consider whether any of the circumstances identified below exist. Remember, though, that you are only going to obtain a modification if you file a motion with the court and prove that your request is fair.
When a spousal support obligation can be decreased
If you owe spousal support and are hoping to decrease your obligation, you will need to look for evidence to indicate either that your former spouse is no longer in need of assistance or that you are no longer able to meet the support obligation. Therefore, any of the following circumstances may justify a motion to modify spousal support:
- You lose your job
- Your income is drastically increased
- You suffer from the onset of a sudden injury or illness
- Your former spouse obtained a job
- Your former spouse obtained a higher education degree
- Your former spouse starts cohabitating with someone else
- Your former spouse remarries
- Your former spouse’s income increases significantly
Some of these circumstances are easier to prove than others. For example, you are going to know if a medical condition affects your ability to fulfill a support obligation, and it is relatively simple to figure out if your former spouse remarries.
But some of these situations, like cohabitation, can be more challenging. Here, you will need to be diligent in assessing social media, where your former spouse is living, and the relationship between your former spouse and anyone with whom they live.
When a spousal support obligation can be increased
If you receive spousal support and feel like you are deserving of more, you still need to convince a judge why that is the case. Here are some situations that may warrant an increase in an existing support obligation:
- Your former spouse gets a promotion or job increase
- You suddenly lose your job or face a wage decrease
- You are unexpectedly hit with larger expenses than you expected, such as if you suddenly need extensive medical treatment
- The expenses that your former spouse was facing at the time of the initial order have decreased significantly
Just like those who are seeking a decrease in spousal support, you are going to need evidence to support your request. Subpoenaing records from your former spouse can go a long way here, but you will also want to make sure that you are appropriately documenting your living situation and your expenses.
Do not leave your spousal support matters to chance
If you were part of a high-asset divorce, the spousal support that is being paid as part of your divorce is probably significant. Therefore, you owe it to yourself to take legal action if you need to seek a modification.
We know that the thought of entering another contentious dispute with your ex-spouse is not all that appealing. But you deserve to be as financially sound as possible. This means fighting to ensure fairness in your spousal support matter.
The process is not always as easy as it may seem, either, even if the facts seem to fall in your favor. Therefore, if you want to secure your position as fully as possible, you might want to think about having a skilled legal advocate on your side to help you fight for the fair outcome that you deserve.