There’s no doubt that your divorce is a major turning point in your financial standing. The division of marital property may put you on unsteady footing. Being ordered to pay spousal support can leave you in an even more dire financial predicament. You might also feel that the court’s order on alimony is simply unfair. But if that’s true, then you should take comfort knowing that you at least have legal options for trying to ease the financial burden that has been thrust upon you by a support order.
How you can reduce or eliminate your spousal support obligation
The legal options available to you will depend in large part on the facts of your case. However, each of the following are very real ways that you may be able to obtain relief from your alimony obligation:
- Show changed income: If your income has drastically reduced since the spousal support order was issued, then you might be able to successfully seek a modification to lessen the amount of support that you’re ordered to pay. You’ll just need to make sure that you can demonstrate that your income has significantly changed so that you can convince the court that keeping the support obligation as currently ordered would be unfair.
- Illustrate increased expenses: Even if your income has remained the same, you may be able to decrease your support obligation by showing that your expenses have significantly increased. This is especially true if you’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition that requires costly treatment.
- Prove your former spouse’s income: You might also be able to successfully seek a modification if you can show that your former spouse’s income has increased so much that support is no longer warranted at the ordered amount or that it is no longer justified at all. You’ll probably have to subpoena your former spouse’s employment records to be able to prove this.
- Demonstrate cohabitation: One way that you may be able to have your support obligation ceased is to show that your former spouse is now cohabitating with another individual. Here, you’ll probably have to show that the two are sharing expenses or that your former spouse is financially relying on the other individual to some extent. If you can successfully do that, then you can show that your support is no longer warranted.
- Show that a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is void: If your support obligation was established by a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement, then your best option to escape your obligation is to try to convince the court that the agreement should be found to be invalid. This may be achieved by showing that you entered the agreement based on false information or that the agreement is somehow fundamentally unfair.
Do you need a legal advocate on your side?
Depending on the terms of your support order, you could be on the hook for years of payments. This may be unfair and leave you in a strained financial position that you don’t deserve.
But if you need to seek modification, then you need to be prepared with persuasive legal arguments that will convince a judge to side with you. That can be a stressful endeavor, and one that requires you to be thorough and aggressive. An attorney who has a record of handling these kinds of situations may prove to be a powerful ally in your case.