You’ve already completed your divorce. In the decree there was a provision for alimony or child support. Can the amount of alimony be changed? Can the amount of child support be altered? Yes, under certain situations. Modification of alimony or modification of child support can be accomplished if there is a material change of circumstances.
You’ve been ordered to pay alimony, and are barely making ends meet, can you reduce your monthly obligation? Divorce Courts will entertain motions to modify alimony in the event of a material change in circumstances. The most common involves the alimony payor incurring a reduction in salary. However, even under these circumstances, some alimony cannot be reduced. Alimony in Gross will not be reduced, even if the payor has a significant decrease in the amount they earn. That is because alimony in gross is typically considered a part of the property settlement of the parties out of the marital assets, and is not usually based upon the salary of the payor. However, periodic alimony is primarily based upon the payor’s ability to pay, and can therefore be reduced if that ability is impaired. Beware that just because your income has gone down temporarily does not mean you will automatically get a reduction in your spousal support obligation. Courts will look to see if the reduction is only temporary, or if the reduction was voluntary, in which case, a modification of alimony may well be denied.
You have custody of the children and are receiving child support. It was based upon your ex’s income, which you understand has now substantially increased based upon a recent promotion. Can you ask the divorce court to Order more child support? Your ex-spouse shouldn’t be living high on the hog, while your children see none of the benefits. Therefore, Courts will increase child support if there has been a material change in circumstances, such as the payor seeing a significant increase in income. Similarly, if the payor involuntarily loses his job, or incurs a decrease in pay, the court may also reduce the child support obligation. If you’ve been divorced and are interested in seeing if your alimony or child support order can be increased or decreased, contact our Birmingham divorce attorneys at Boles Holmes White LLC for an evaluation.