When the judge finalized your divorce decree, they calculated your spousal and child support obligations based on your life circumstances at the time of the divorce. Now that some time has passed, maybe your situation has changed. You may have remarried and have new children to take care of, or you may have lost your job or developed new and expensive medical conditions. Whatever the case may be, you might be wondering if it is possible to request that the judge lower your support obligations in light of these new circumstances.
Modifying child support
If you are fortunate enough to have an amicable relationship with your ex-spouse, you might be able to come to an agreement with them about a reduction in child support obligation. If that is the case, you must present your new agreement to the family court for approval. Even if you have an oral agreement, don’t reduce your payments without court approval, or you could face penalties.
If you cannot come to a private agreement, then you will have to bring the case before the family court. You can present evidence of your change in circumstances, such as your job loss or your new financial obligations. If the court agrees that a reduction in support payments would be just, they may order the reduction.
Much like for a child support order, you’ll have to show a change in circumstances in order to get an alimony adjustment.
However, it can be somewhat easier to modify alimony than it is to modify child support. The reason for this is that the change in circumstances that would justify a modification doesn’t have to concern just your financial situation – it could be a change in your ex-spouse’s circumstances as well.
For example, if your ex-spouse remarries, your alimony obligation ends. In some circumstances, your obligation could also end if your ex-spouse enters into a stable, long-term cohabiting relationship, even if they do not marry their new partner.
People’s life circumstances often change drastically in the years following a divorce. If your child and spousal support arrangements no longer realistically fit your situation, do not hesitate to take the proper legal steps to request a support modification order.