Westborough Alimony Modification Lawyer
After a divorce is final, the alimony order is binding and failure to comply with the agreement could result in severe legal consequences. However, as time passes, circumstances may change, and you may need to alter the terms in your agreement. You or your ex-spouse may request a modification to your spousal support order at any point when there is a change in circumstances.
If you have questions about altering the spousal support provisions of your existing divorce order, you should speak with our dedicated Westborough alimony modification lawyers. Because we have over 35 combined years of exclusive family law experience, O’Connor Family Law can offer assistance in various situations that may impact spousal support.
We can advise whether you have a legal basis on which to seek a modification and walk alongside you through the entire court process. Alternatively, if an ex-spouse is requesting a change in your alimony that could potentially put you at a financial disadvantage, we can help you fight this modification in or out of court.
What are the Potential Grounds to Request an Alimony Modification?
You or your ex-spouse may seek an alimony modification to increase or lower the pre-existing spousal support amount. Regardless of who files the complaint for modification, the court will only entertain this request if the party requesting the modification can prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances.
One example of a situation where the paying party may request a modification is when they lose their job and are no longer able to meet their current alimony obligation. Alternatively, if the receiving spouse gets a promotion that results in a pay increase, the paying party may have grounds to request a modification.
Another situation that frequently results in a spousal support modification is when the party receiving alimony starts living with someone or gets remarried. With either situation, unless written directly into the original judgment, neither situation will immediately terminate the alimony payment without an order of the Court. You should never simply stop paying alimony if you were ordered to do so unless you have the written agreement from the other party or an order of the Court. Please speak to a family law attorney about how and when to terminate any alimony payments you are under an order to pay unless your judgment clearly states a termination date or event.
Although many people will hold out on going back to court if they lose their jobs with the hope that they will be able to find a new place of employment quickly, we have seen this completely backfire on people. You generally cannot seek a decrease or termination of your alimony dating back to when the circumstance first changed. You can only seek a modification back to the date that the other person was served with your complaint for modification. If you are able to secure another job, you can always withdraw your complaint; however, to reserve your right to seek a decrease, suspension, or termination, you must file sooner than later in case your situation doesn’t improve as quickly as you would hope.
We have unfortunately heard people say that they would rather quit their job and work at a job making minimum wage rather than pay alimony. If that’s what you’re thinking, you could be landing yourself in hot water. If you voluntarily leave a place of employment where you have a good income to take a job with a significantly lesser income, it is possible that the judge could impute your old income to you regardless of what you’re making now. This would mean you’re paying alimony based on the higher income while making less. Not an ideal outcome.
If you find yourself in a position of needing to seek a change to your current alimony order, our team of Westborough lawyers has experienced many situations that have resulted in grounds for alimony modification. We can review your case and determine if you may be eligible to request a change in your order.
Court Considerations When Reviewing a Complaint for Modification in Westborough
A judge may consider a range of factors when reviewing a complaint for spousal support modification. If there is a showing of a significant change in circumstances, the first prong a judge is supposed to decide is the need of the person collecting the alimony and the payor’s ability to pay the alimony. After that, the judge moves into the second prong and considers the “alimony factors.” These include how long your marriage lasted, how much each party is earning in income and the employment history, the age and health of each party, and a number of other factors.
There was a change to the alimony statutes, so if your alimony order was originally issued before 2011, then there is a chance you could seek a modification to the amount being paid based on the new laws. The language of the original judgment is very important, so it’s best to discuss this with a family lawyer who has experience with alimony modifications prior to deciding whether to go ahead and file. As a complaint seeking a modification to your alimony has the chance at adverse consequences you do not expect, it is extremely important to get help from our Westborough lawyers when requesting an alimony modification, as this could impact your financial stability for years to come.
Speak with Our Westborough Alimony Modification Attorneys Today
Spousal support can be a complex and sensitive topic when going through a divorce and for years afterward. As a result, when one party tries to change the existing arrangement, this can lead to even more tension and stress. Fortunately, our Westborough alimony modification lawyers can offer an honest evaluation of your situation and help you decide what your next steps should be. Contact O’Connor Family Law today to learn how we can help you through this process.