Now that it has been a few years since your divorce, you might be wondering if your alimony payments are still necessary. Perhaps you have noticed your former spouse moving in with a partner who is financially supportive. Maybe you lost your job. Whatever the situation is, you might have a chance at reducing or terminating your alimony payments.
According to Pennsylvania law, modification of spousal support requires “a substantial change in circumstances.” What does this mean? Here are a few reasons why you may be able to pursue a modification.
1. Unemployment or wage reduction
Are you suddenly and involuntarily unemployed? If so, this may be a good argument for paying your ex less. A significant reduction in income is one of the strongest ways to convince the court of a modification. This only works if your job loss or reduction in wages is involuntary, so do not voluntarily leave your job in hopes of getting your way.
2. New cohabitation
Is your spouse living with someone new? Can you prove the two are a couple and not simply roommates? If you can show the court that this new living situation is long-term and involves sharing living expenses, you might have a chance at reducing or terminating your spousal support order.
3. Illness or injury
Did you recently get an illness or injury that is affecting your ability to work? These circumstances may be enough to reduce your payments even if it is only temporary. The court may order your payments to go back to normal once you go back to work, but you might be able to get the temporary relief you need.
Along with these reasons, your divorce agreement may have specific provisions regarding changing, reducing or terminating spousal support payments. Review this document to see if any of these circumstances apply. Otherwise, a substantial change such as the circumstances mentioned above may suffice.