Can I Change Alimony if I Lost my Job?
After a divorce where you are required to pay alimony to your former spouse, money can get tight. Matters can get even worse if you lose your job. The worst part is that you can’t simply stop paying alimony without court approval.
How Alimony is Determined
During your divorce proceedings, the court will look at several factors to determine if alimony is right for your situation:
- How long the marriage lasted
- Your former spouse’s need for alimony
- Your ability to pay
- The earning potential of both of you
Most alimony isn’t permanent so at least you know there is an end. But if you lose your job while you’re still paying alimony, that can be challenging for you. A lawyer can help you find the right solution.
Don’t Stop Paying Alimony
Even if you can’t afford to pay the alimony in full, pay what you can. The court will look negatively upon you deciding without their approval that you’re going to stop paying alimony.
Also speak with your former spouse. Let them know the situation you’re in and that you’re not trying to avoid the alimony payments altogether but you lost your job and it’s challenging to make ends meet.
File a Petition to Modify
As soon as possible after you’ve lost your job, you need to file a petition to modify your alimony obligations. The court is the only body that can change your alimony so you need to let them know your situation, even if it’s temporary.
A lawyer can help you gather the evidence you’ll need to provide to the court to have them modify your alimony payments. You’ll need to show:
- You didn’t quit your job
- You’re searching for work
- Your income has ceased, even if temporarily
The court will review your information and make a decision on whether to reduce or eliminate your alimony on a temporary basis. During the time your alimony payments are reduced or eliminated, you might be required to show the court on a monthly basis what steps you’re taking to find work. When you do find a new job, the court will reinstate your alimony payments and base them on your new income.
Contact a Lawyer for Help
By letting the court know about your job loss and reduction in income, you can make sure you stay current on your alimony payments. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you are held in contempt or you have your wages garnished because you failed to pay alimony but didn’t notify the court. That’s why it’s so important to choose a skilled and trusted family law attorney to stand by your side and protect your rights.
But you must act fast. Contact a lawyer today to get started with your no obligation consultation with a law firm.