When a couple divorces in New York, regardless of whether they have children or not, one of the most contentious issues in the divorce revolves around finances and support. If a couple has a prenuptial agreement or has come to an agreement about it post divorce, that is helpful; however, parties often end up dragging one another through courts to get what they deserve to maintain their standard of living and for what they gave up for the other party to succeed.
Deciding on the initial amount was difficult enough, but often circumstances change, The cost of living goes up or a financial emergency pops up. Can the alimony order be modified? Depending on state law, there are certain circumstances in which alimony can be modified. The most common reason alimony is modified is if the parties agree with one another that they should change it.
Even though this can be done without the court's approval, getting the approval can serve as proof should a dispute arise in the future. Including a cost of living clause in the alimony order can actually reduce the need to change the order annually. It allows for the increase in alimony according to the cost of living.
Some of the most common reasons alimony is modified are if one person's financial situation dramatically changes. The loss of job could result in a decrease in alimony from the payer's side, and an increase in salary could lead to the receiving spouse asking for an increase in maintenance. When one party marries or starts living with another person, the other party may be able to show a decrease in the need for support, which the receiving party can contest.
The important thing to keep in mind is that none of the parties should act unilaterally. Losing a job or getting new financial obligations does not mean the paying spouse should simply stop paying without any notice or court order. If someone is facing a hardship in either making payments or requiring payments to go up, they may benefit from consulting an experienced attorney for guidance on how to proceed.