If you plan to seek alimony, or spousal support, you must do so before the divorce is finalized. Speak with a family law attorney near Owings Mills about requesting alimony. As your divorce lawyer can advise you, the court has broad discretion in determining whether to award alimony, and if so, the amount of the payments and the length of time that alimony must be paid. Bear in mind that after the divorce, it is possible for either party to petition the court to have the alimony agreement modified. Alimony may be modifiable or non-modifiable.
Which Modifications May be Made?
If the alimony agreement has been established for a set time period, such as three years, then one possible modification is to extend its duration or to turn it into indefinite alimony. Other possible alimony modifications include terminating the payments and increasing or reducing the payments.
What Are the Grounds for Modifying Alimony Agreements?
Talk to your family lawyer to determine whether you have the basis for requesting a modification. Generally, alimony laws permit modifications due to significant changes in the circumstances of either party. For example, the spouse who receives alimony payments may obtain gainful employment, thus eliminating the need for support. Or, the receiving spouse may be unable to become self-supporting, which may necessitate the extension of alimony. Alimony payments may be reduced or terminated if the receiving spouse experiences a significant decline in expenses, inherits or is gifted substantial assets, or has a significant increase in income. Some of the changes in the circumstances of the party who pays alimony that may warrant a modification can include the loss of employment, significant reduction in wages, permanent disability or infirmity, or significant increase in income.
What Is a “Harsh and Inequitable Result?”
The judge may modify or terminate alimony payments if he or she determines that not doing so would lead to a “harsh and inequitable result.” Some examples of these situations include the legitimate retirement of the payor, the ability of the receiving spouse to become self-supporting, or other significant changes in circumstances.