When divorce proceedings take place between a couple, one of the most important topics discussed is spousal support. In many cases, the amount of money finally agreed upon is based upon a number of factors. These can include the discrepancy in salaries of the two people, or the ability of one person to earn an income that will allow them to support themselves and any of their dependents. However, there are circumstances that develop during divorce proceedings that have one spouse believing they need more money than has been originally agreed upon. Yet in many cases, the other spouse refuses to change the original amount. If you have found yourself needing to have your spousal maintenance increased but are meeting resistance from your ex-spouse, there are legal steps that can be taken.
Material Change in Circumstance
While requesting an increase in spousal maintenance payments can be difficult at times, there are situations that warrant such a request be made. When the ex-spouse refuses to agree to the change, a petition must be filed with the court citing a material change in circumstance has taken place. Generally, a material change in circumstance falls into two categories. The first is the income of the ex-spouse has greatly increased, thus allowing them to pay more in spousal support. The second category involves if the needs of the person receiving support greatly change, and this is where unexpected medical issues come into play. If you have had a stroke, needless to say you now find yourself temporarily or perhaps permanently disabled. In addition, lost wages will result from being unable to work, and medical bills will need to be paid. The burden of proof rests with the person requesting the change, and any changes granted by the court can be temporary or permanent depending upon the judge’s ruling.
Court Hearing or Settlement?
In many spousal payment cases, a new agreement can be reached without having to petition the court. Retaining the services of an attorney who has handled numerous divorce cases will increase the chances of reaching a new agreement with your ex-spouse. However, if a court hearing must take place at some point, an attorney can gather the necessary evidence to support your request for additional money. Whichever method is used, it’s much easier to accomplish your goals if you have an attorney who understands your issues and will fight for your rights. Contact us to learn more or get started on your case.