Many couples who go through a divorce might obtain an alimony agreement. Also known as spousal support, these payments are made to ensure both parties maintain the same quality of life they were used to in the marriage, while the individual with the lower income finds a way to support himself or herself. You may find that after the divorce, your circumstances have changed, requiring you to seek a change in the alimony plan.
There are many reasons for an individual to want to lower or raise the alimony plan. The person making alimony payments may seek to lower the sum, while the individual receiving it can look to have it increased. Whatever the case might be, you will need to show a significant change in circumstances.
Circumstances that can lead to the lowering or raising of alimony include:
- Inability to meet current expenses (usually those receiving support)
- A reasonable increase in living expenses
- The involuntary loss of a job or income
- An illness or disability that keeps the person from working
- The spouse receiving support moves in with a new partner
- An increase in the supported spouse’s income
In California, a spouse cannot seek a raise in income if the person paying alimony receives a pay raise or finds a job with higher income. Both parties would still be held accountable for the sums upon which they already agreed.
If you do experience a significant change in circumstances, you will need to go through six vital steps in order to lower or raise alimony payments.
These steps include:
- Review your divorce decree – Some divorce plans include certain clauses that allow for the termination of supposal support based on certain conditions. Make sure to look at what exactly your divorce specifies in terms of alimony modifications.
- Draft a motion to modify – Whether you speak to your ex or not, you will need to draft a motion to change your alimony payments. You will need to include forms such as a certificate of service, notice of hearing, and other documents. It might be beneficial for your cause to have an attorney look over your draft, to ensure you did not miss any loopholes.
- File your motion – You must file your motion to modify alimony payments in the same court where you initially received your divorce agreements. You will also have to pay a fee to file.
- Serve your ex (if applicable) – If your ex does not know about your motion to change your support plan, you will need to serve him or her with the petition. They have a certain period of time in which to respond. Remember, if you are responsible for supporting your ex, you will still need to make the payments until the alimony decree is officially changed.
- Gather evidence – The court needs to see that a significant change in circumstances occurred in order to consider your petition. Make sure you have the evidence to prove it. This can include spending expenses, tax forms, etc.
- Attend hearing – Attend your hearing at the designated time and court. The court will review your case and make a decision.
At Chung & Ignacio, Attorneys at Law, we understand how difficult it can be dealing with financial matters. If you need to modify your spousal support, our Rancho Cucamonga alimony attorneys can help! Do not get cheated out of a fair sum. Contact us today for a free consultation.