Alimony payments can cost a lot of money.
It’s understandable that the law would seek to support lower-income individuals following a divorce. The change from being a housewife or a stay-at-home father to having to earn enough for shelter and food is not an easy one. It makes sense that the legal system would try to make the transition as smooth as possible.
But life doesn’t stay the same. People get hired at better jobs with higher incomes, or they get fired and have to make ends meet to the best of their ability. As changes occur, it only makes sense that spousal support payments would also change. So can alimony be altered and, if so, when?
Do I Have the Right to Ask for My Alimony to be Altered?
The answer to whether or not alimony can be altered is…it depends.
In most cases, alimony can absolutely be altered. But there are some cases where it can’t. Thankfully, you would know if this was true for you.
Alimony can always be modified so long as you have not waived the right to ask for a change. A statement can be added to a divorce judgment to say that the spousal support provision is binding and, therefore, nonmodifiable.
Spousal support can only be made nonmodifiable in cases where the spouses have negotiated their own terms rather than have the court do so. The court is not allowed to make spousal support nonmodifiable, unless it is by agreement. So the court cannot, on its own, make spousal support nonmodifiable.
It’s important to note that waiving the right to change spousal support goes both ways. Neither party is allowed to ask for a modification.
How Can I Get My Alimony Altered in Michigan?
In order to get your alimony payments altered the first step is to file a post-judgment motion with the court. A court date will be scheduled on the motion, at which the court will consider where there is a reason to hold an evidentiary hearing. This will be decided based on the information you provide in your motion. Keep in mind that having a court date to look at the motion doesn’t mean that alterations will necessarily go through.
If the court decides that there is enough of a basis to move forward towards an alteration of the alimony then they will schedule an evidentiary hearing, which is like a trial. At this point, alimony modifications may be able to be made through both parties mediating the issue themselves or through their attorneys. If no agreement can be reached, then a judge will hear the evidence and testimony and make a decision.
The main reason for alimony payments in the first place is to try to balance the incomes of both parties in a way that doesn’t negatively impact either party. Alimony is determined first and foremost by the circumstances of each party at the time of the separation. Since those circumstances are prone to change, so too can the alimony be modified.
If you are considering seeking a modification of your alimony payments then your circumstances will have had to change. If they have not then you have very little chance of getting an alteration. So just what type of changes could allow you to modify your alimony payments?
When Would You Want to Modify Alimony in Michigan?
There is no point in seeking a modification of your alimony until your circumstances have changed. However, there are quite a few ways in which your circumstances can change. It might come as a surprise to learn that not every change of circumstance is focused on income.
But, with that said, a change of income is one of the major changes of circumstances that see alimony modifications. The goal of alimony is to balance the incomes of both parties without damaging the comfort of living of either. Say you were holding down an $80k a year position before losing your job. After being fired all you could find for work was $40k a year. This is a huge change and the original alimony agreement could likely be modified to reflect that.
But alimony can also be changed because the receiving party increased their income. Say they didn’t have work at the time of the divorce but found a good job a little ways down the road, then you could petition to have the alimony changed because their income is now different.
Another reason to seek a change in alimony could be that the individual receiving the alimony remarried. This would mean that they went from a home with a single income to a home with multiple income sources and so it is no longer necessary to receive alimony (or as much alimony).
Other common reasons for alimony modifications include one of the parties becoming disabled or incarcerated. In some cases, the passage of time is seen as enough of a reason to have an alimony payment altered. In most cases, there will be a clearly stated term for the alimony payments to be made. This could be something such as until the receiving party has finished seeking post-secondary education to get a better-paying job. But it could also be a set period of time such as a couple of years.
Should I Have an Attorney Help Me with My Alimony Modifications?
Yes, without a doubt.
Alimony payments can be a real pain and not just because they cost a lot of money. Seeking modifications can be a difficult experience, one that often feels like the system is against you. While it may seem like it would be easy to prove that your circumstances change, it is often harder than you’d realize.
Not only that but a judgment on your modifications, or a denial of your modifications, may be unfair. There are numerous examples of cases where a modification was denied for erroneous reasons, only to be accepted once contested with the help of an attorney.
That’s why you should always work with an attorney when it comes to modifying your alimony. The more experienced they are in divorce law and alimony, the better they’ll be able to help you. That’s why the American Divorce Association for Men is the perfect firm to help you with your alimony. We have the experience necessary to serve you in these times. Give us a call at (248) 218-0819 for a free consultation today.