Alimony is one part of a divorce agreement that is often surrounded by many misconceptions. For example, many people still believe that alimony is only for women, yet men can also receive alimony depending upon their situation at the time of their divorce. Whether you are a man or a woman paying alimony, it is important to understand the truth about how reduction works. Use this guide to make sure that you follow the right steps when seeking alimony reduction to ensure that you are always meeting your obligations.
Read Your Divorce Settlement Order
The first thing that you must do is become familiar with your divorce settlement because this gives you all of the information that you need to get started with potentially reducing your alimony. For instance, your order may state specific circumstances for when the alimony payments can stop, such as once your ex-spouse remarries or they find gainful employment. In some instances, there is a defined date for when the alimony ends that allows you to stop making payments after a set number of months or years. At Cuppls, we know that reading through all of the legal terminology in a divorce settlement order gets complicated, so feel free to reach out to one of our recommended legal experts even at this stage to figure out your options for alimony reduction.
Understand When Alimony Can be Modified
The U.S. Census Bureau found that the average marriage lasts eight years before a couple seeks divorce. This means that you and your ex-spouse likely had established roles during this time that affected your financial situation and may no longer apply now. For instance, your partner may have been an at-home parent who made non-financial contributions to the family, and they needed your support at the time of the divorce to get on their feet. Now, they may be capable of sustaining their household without your financial assistance. Alternatively, you may have encountered a situation that poses a challenge for you to continue making full payments, such as a health condition that limits your ability to work. Since your personal situation affects how and when you can modify the alimony agreement, this is another thing that you will need to check by reading through your court order and understanding the laws within your state.
Gather Any Necessary Documentation
In most cases, you will need proof of the reason why you are seeking an alimony reduction. For instance, medical records may be required to demonstrate that your health is affecting your ability to pay. Or, you may need pay stubs to show that your change of employment has limited your financial resources for paying alimony. It is also possible that you may need legal help getting documentation for why you are seeking a modification to your settlement order, such as when your ex-spouse has moved in with someone else or started a higher paying job.
Work Through the Proper Legal Channels
At times, it may be tempting to just stop paying the alimony. However, always keep in mind that you have a legal obligation to follow the court order until the modification is approved. Maintain your good standing with the court by doing everything you can to stay on top of your payments while you work through this issue the right way. To ensure that you do so, you can use legal advice online to understand your full obligation along with the right steps you need to take to file for an alimony reduction.
Alimony is designed to help people move forward after a divorce, but this is done with the understanding that circumstances can change after an agreement is filed. By understanding your obligations along with the proper channels to work through in your area, you can address your alimony issues while staying in compliance with the law.