Alimony or spousal support is often required from one party in a divorce. According to the court support order, the ex-spouse may be required to make regular monthly payments to the other party after a divorce. In most cases alimony will stop according to the instructions set forth in the court alimony order.
However, terminating alimony can also be justified under certain circumstances, such as when the recipient party:
- Becomes deceased
- Gets married again
- Moves in with a new partner ("cohabitates")
- Provides evidence that they have become financially self-sufficient
In some cases, alimony may be stopped if the paying spouse suffers extreme hardship from the payments (such as when they lose their employment).
Can Alimony Be Adjusted or Modified?
Certainly- alimony can sometimes be adjusted or modified in cases where termination is not necessary or is not a practical option. Modifying alimony payments must be requested specifically, as these are not handled automatically by the court. When requesting for a modification, the parties must usually present further evidence of their needs as well as documentation such as bank statements, pay stubs, etc.
Most alimony adjustments have to do with "changed circumstances" similar to those warranting a termination of payments. For instance, alimony may need to be adjusted if one of the parties cohabitates with another partner, or if one of the parties loses their job.
What If the Other Party Won’t Pay Alimony?
Spousal support orders that are issued by the court are enforceable under state family laws. Failure to abide by such orders can result in fines, contempt orders, and sometimes even criminal consequences.
However, informal support arrangements that haven’t been approved by the court may be more difficult to enforce. Enforcement may occur if the parties have a valid written contract between themselves. But, it’s always best to have a personal support payment arrangement submitted to the court for approval so that it can be backed by the full force of the law.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Alimony Payments?
Family law issues such as divorce and spousal support payments can sometimes be complicated to deal with. You may need to hire a qualified family lawyer if you need help with a spousal support statement. Your attorney can help you file the necessary papers for an official court order, and can also represent you in the event of a dispute or in case of non-payment.