Whether you are considering divorce, in the middle of negotiating a settlement, or you have already been strapped with alimony obligations, you might be wondering how difficult it is to get them reduced. While reducing alimony obligations is possible, it is best to ensure a fair settlement at the outset—adjusting obligations after a judgment or settlement can be challenging. Still, there are some instances where adjusting or reducing spousal support is an option. Our Birmingham divorce attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights and financial interests of our clients before, during, and after divorce. We will take the time to review the facts of your case, identify your obligations, review your income, and pursue all of your options for a modification.
The courts will be evaluating the conditions under which your payments can be adjusted, reduced or terminated. It is possible to have some terms negotiated in the settlement agreement. Assuming you have not addressed these issues in a prior settlement, here are four instances where reduction in alimony may be possible in Alabama:
Medical disability or illness. Individuals who suffer in an accident, are diagnosed with a disease or medical condition that renders them unable to work may be able to obtain a reduction or elimination of spousal support responsibilities. The court is likely to consider additional factors including your age, physical condition, emotional stability and other factors that inhibit your ability to work or make payments.
Reduced pay or unemployment. In the current economy, no job is safe. If you have recently been laid off and are unable to make spousal support payments, you may be eligible for a modification. Remember that this option is not available if you voluntarily leave your position.
Remarriage or living with a new partner. Many payees are mistaken in thinking that only remarriage can trigger a spousal support reduction. You may also be able to seek a reduction or termination of obligations if your former spouse has moved in with a new partner. This is not applicable if your spouse has moved in with a roommate. The situation must also appear to be permanent and could make you eligible for a spousal support modification.
Death. This is not necessarily helpful for those seeking a modification, but it is noteworthy that your obligations will not be handed down to a dependent. At the time of death, you and your estate are released from any spousal support or alimony obligations.
In some instances, spousal support assignments may be too high or become unmanageable. It is within your rights to have your case reviewed to see if a modification is possible. If you are having financial difficulties in meeting your spousal support obligations, do not flout a court order or wait to seek a court approved modification. Failure to pay child support or spousal support could result in being held in contempt. Penalties could be both civil and criminal. An experienced advocate can help review your case, identify your options and pursue a reduction or elimination of spousal support obligations.
If you are seeking a divorce in Birmingham, contact Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.