If you lose your job while you are still being ordered to pay alimony to your spouse, does that get you out of your spousal support agreement? Not necessarily. The court does not like to revisit an alimony agreement unless it is absolutely necessary. If you think that your situation absolutely requires a change to your arrangement, you can talk to a Tazewell County alimony lawyer from our firm. We may be able to help you make your argument for a new spousal support arrangement.
Can Modifications Be Made to an Alimony Agreement?
Yes, a modification can usually be made to an alimony agreement if the circumstances of the paying spouse change. Just losing your job may not be enough of a reason though. The judge can look at a variety of factors to determine whether you should stop paying alimony, if you should pay less, or if the agreement should remain the same. They could focus on:
- Why your income has declined or been lost
- If you have been seriously looking for a new job in good faith
- The health and economic situations of both spouses
- Whether the supported spouse could be self-sufficient
So there are some things that can work against you and others that can work in your favor. If you lost your job through no fault of your own, like due to layoffs, the judge may be more willing to modify an agreement. If you lost your job due to your own errors or because you committed some kind of crime, you are unlikely to catch a break.
If it is determined that your change in circumstances is significant enough, then you should be able to modify your agreement. Your obligation to pay your former spouse could even end if they are seen as self-sufficient by the court.
Does an Alimony Agreement Last Forever?
One thing to remember is that most alimony agreements do not last forever. If you are near the end of your alimony agreement, it may be better to simply suck it up and keep paying out until your obligation ends. Unless you were married for more than 20 years it is unlikely that you will be on the hook for spousal support forever.
What Happens if I Stop Making Spousal Support Payments?
Some people think that losing their job will qualify them to stop paying alimony. So they just stop paying and go about their lives, waiting for their court date. This is a bad idea.
Stopping alimony payments without actually going to court can reflect poorly on you, to say the very least. No matter what happens when you try to make your spousal support modification, you will end up being on the hook for those back payments that you skipped. Never assume anything and always stick to the most recent court agreements you have made.
Talk to Our Family Lawyers
So if you are thinking about making a change to your alimony agreement, contact Butler, Giraudo & Meister, P.C and schedule a consultation. Our experienced family lawyers are ready to help you out.