When the unexpected happens and you experience a job loss or a reduction in income, you may qualify to reduce alimony payments. Because courts are now postponing most hearings into the indefinite future because of the coronavirus, it is extremely important that you seek legal relief as soon as possible.
Modifiable and Non Modifiable Alimony Awards
What most people refer to as alimony actually has a lot of different names, including “spousal support” and “maintenance.” But regardless of the legal terminology, alimony (for lack of a better word), typically falls into two categories: modifiable and non-modifiable. If you are in a situation in which you agreed to pay an amount of non-modifiable alimony, it is extremely unlikely that a court will ever modify the amount of alimony you are required to pay, regardless of your circumstances. Awards of modifiable alimony, however, can be changed by the court when it determines that there has been a material change in circumstances.
A Loss of Income May Provide a Basis for Reducing Your Alimony Payment
A job loss, or even a reduction in income is an event that may qualify as a material change of circumstance, which is what is required to reduce the amount of alimony who’ve been ordered to pay. Most courts have not established an absolute number or percentage of income loss that qualifies to reduce an alimony obligation. Rather, the court will most often look to the parties’ budgets to determine whether an alimony reduction is appropriate. It is extremely important – before returning to court to modify alimony – that you analyze the impact on your bottom line and on your ex’s post-divorce budget, to determine whether you should proceed.
Why It’s Important to File a Motion to Modify Alimony as Soon as Possible During the COVID-19 Crisis
In most jurisdictions, a motion to modify alimony will be retroactive to the date you file the motion. Right now, courts are continuing cases into the indefinite future because of concerns relating to the coronavirus. The courts are prioritizing emergency hearings, and it is unlikely that a motion to reduce alimony will qualify as an emergency. But, because the relief you will be seeking with such a motion is retroactive, it ultimately will not matter when the court hears the case. It will only really matter WHEN the motion was filed. Your alimony will be modified all the way back to the actual date you filed the motion.
If you are in this situation, we truly sympathize with what you are going through. We have already received many inquiries from people wanting to modify their alimony payments because of the unfortunate consequences that have resulted from this pandemic. If you are in this situation, simply contact the family lawyers at The Law Office of Ronald Kossack in Tempe and we can analyze your case and walk you through the process or submit an online case evaluation.