Can’t Afford Your Alimony? What to Do Now
You were doing just fine after the divorce. Terms were at least passable with your ex-spouse, you were making your payments for alimony and child support, and you were working on getting back to a new normal after a life-altering transition. But then your company downsized, or the recession hit, or your mortgage went underwater. And suddenly those alimony payments have gone from just another expense on your balance sheet to a financial impossibility. You just can’t afford your alimony. What can you do?
First, don’t panic. You’re not the first person to have his or her financial situation change while involved in an alimony arrangement, and there exists a legal method to resolve the issue. If you can no longer afford your current alimony payments, read through the following information and consult an attorney for help.
Showing Things Have Changed
First, take a look at your divorce or separation settlement agreement. Many divorce or separation orders include terms describing the circumstances under which alimony payments can be altered. Regardless of what it says, you’ll need to file a request with the court through the use of a motion if you would like to have a judge consider reducing or eliminating your alimony payments.
In doing so, you’ll need to demonstrate that some situation or factor has changed since the alimony agreement was put in place. Typically, conditions that may lead to a court to readjust your alimony payments include involuntarily losing your job or taking a serious reduction in wages or an illness or disability that affects your ability to work.
That said, it’s possible that your ex-spouse’s situation may have changed as well, which could affect alimony payments. If your ex-spouse has remarried, is living with somebody new and has been for some time, or has seen an increase in income or took on a new job, demonstrating that altered situation in court could lead the court to reduce or eliminate your payments. After filing the motion, the court will usually allow both exes to conduct discovery, meaning you and your ex-spouse will both ask each other to produce documentation regarding whether they need financial support or can provide financial support to the other. So, if you move to have the court reevaluate your alimony arrangement, you’ll likely be able to explore each of these reasons for changing the agreement.
Modifying alimony can be tricky. As mentioned above, it involves filing motions before the court, conducting discovery, documenting and organizing financial information, and other tasks generally left up to legal professionals. And in Florida, where alimony law is poised to undergo substantial changes through the legislature, the assistance of an attorney can make a vital difference in ensuring that your alimony arrangement properly reflects your earning power and financial situation. If you’re unable to meet your alimony payments or are considering seeking a readjustment of your alimony or divorce agreement, discuss your options by seeking reliable and experienced assistance. Contact an experienced family attorney at Schwartz | White at 561-391-9943 today for a consultation.