Can I get a reduction in spousal support if my income decreases? 28 Answers as of June 21, 2011

If my income from employement has drastically reduced can I get a reduction in my spousal support payments?

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Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Depending on what your income was at the time of the order requiring you to pay Spousal Support, you may qualify for a reduction of Spousal Support, but you would have to file an Order to Show Cause [OSC] for modification of Spousal Support, along with an Income and Expense Declaration, and any modification would not be retroactive to a date prior to the date of filing of your OSC, so do not delay filing and serving your OSC.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/21/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
Yes, but you'll have to prove it to the satisfaction of the court, which can cost quite a bit in and of itself. Speak to a local lawyer about it first. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/20/2011
Law Office of James Lentz
Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
In Ohio you can if the decrease is permanent and you are unlikely to find a new job at the old income rate. But prosecuting the change ill cost money, so make sure the difference is worth it. See a domestic relations attorney near you for further information.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 6/20/2011
Seattle Divorce Services
Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
Under Washington law, unless your spousal support obligation was ordered as non-modifiable, it is subject to being modified. Consult with an attorney in your area for more information about your specific circumstances.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/20/2011
Fredric H. Aaron, Attorney at Law, P.C.
Fredric H. Aaron, Attorney at Law, P.C. | Fredric Harlan Aaron
If you suffer a material reduction in income or other compensation, you can apply to the court to have your maintenance payments decreased. There is no guaranty that the court will grant your petition, but if your income loss was substantial, it may make sense for you to take this step.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/20/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You may find the attached of some use.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    It is possible to have spousal support reduced if your income drops provided it was not made nonmodifiable in a separation contract.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Deal & Hooks, LLC
    Deal & Hooks, LLC | Shawn P. Hooks
    Typically a divorce decree allows for modification of an award of spousal support if there is a significant change of circumstances. If this is the case it would be your obligation to demonstrate that there is a significant decrease in your income. Your spouse may attempt to argue that you are voluntarily underemployed, or that your decrease in salary was a result of your own willful actions. If your financial situation has changed significantly you should consult with an attorney who can look at your decree and advise you of a proper course of conduct.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Yes, as long as you can establish the decrease in income and the decrease is not voluntary or intentional. By that I am simply telling you the two best attacks by the parent getting support, to claim that while your income went down, the decrease was your personal choice or the result of your actions that could be cured if you want too. To get a decrease, you have to follow the same steps the custodial parent would follow to get an increase. File a Motion to Modify. It is not automatic, you need a Court Order for the new amount.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Rice & Co., LPA
    Rice & Co., LPA | Kollin Rice
    Spousal support is often unmodifiable, but you need to review the specific terms of your divorce decree. If it says that support is unmodifiable, you are probably stuck with it. Otherwise, modification may be possible.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    The starting point to answer your question should be in the current court order that establishes your current spousal support.That should indicate whether or not any future modification is allowed or prohibited. If modification is allowed, the question of how much will be answered be evaluating all the facts and circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    You may file an Order to Show Cause with the court to request a modification in spousal support based on your decreased income. The court will require you to show verification that your income is lowered and that you are not the cause of your reduced income. You should contact an attorney to assist you in filing the Order to Show Cause as there are several factors that the court will look at prior to granting your request.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    The answer is "maybe." First, it will depend on exactly how the award of spousal support is worded in the decree or order. Second, it will depend on why and how much your income is decreasing. For example: If your income is decreasing because you voluntarily quit your job, then, the court is probably not going to decrease spousal support. On the other hand, if your income has decreased because the company you work for has gone out of business, and if you're making a good faith effort to find a new job, then, the court might decrease spousal support.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    If it is not voluntary and permanent with no future prospect of its return, you are entitled to petition the court.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    Yes. If there is a substantial change in your economic circumstances through no fault of your own, and the purpose of the award is either satisfied or cannot be achieved, you are eligible for a reduction or termination of spousal support.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    Usually, yes, so long as the language in your judgment/order doesn't preclude it. Typically it does not preclude it. I would suggest a brief review of the fianancial change before filing the motion. However, do not delay in filing the motion as the court can only start the new/lower amount from the time you file/serve the motion.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    As with any such question, the first place to review to determine if you can is the separation agreement itself. Does the agreement say it is not modifiable? Does it list terms as to when it is modifiable? Assuming it is capable of modification, then the question becomes one for the parties to first try to work out an agreement before getting to court or a court will decide based on all the evidence it is provided.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Willick Law Group
    Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
    Maybe. In Nevada, a statute presumes that a motion to alter spousal support is well-founded if income changes by at least 20%; such statutes and case law vary widely from place to place.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    In Georgia, a reduction in income often qualifies as a substantial change in circumstances that would allow you to go back to court and ask for a reduction. In most situations, the end result is a reduction in alimony, but there is by no means a guarantee. For example, if the Court thinks you are voluntarily "underemployed," your request could be denied.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    Whether you can get a reduction in your spousal support will depend upon many factors, one of which is your income decreasing. Another factor is the current need of your spouse, her current job and income and other factors. You will have to bring an order to show cause to make the request and you should definitely have a lawyer represent you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Are you referring to temporary spousal support, or has your divorce already been finalized, and thus you're referring to long term support as part of a marriage settlement agreement or judgment? If the former, then yes, if your income has been reduced, that is a "change of circumstances" which would warrant a reduction in support. If you are referring to long term support (established from a divorce judgment), then the answer is: "it depends." I.e., it depends on the spousal support terms that were made part of the divorce judgment. For instance, does the judgment state that support is "non-modifiable?" if so, then no, a reduction in income would not make a different. If any judgment does not include terms limiting modification of the amount of spousal support, then yes, just like for temporary support, if there is a "change of circumstances" then you can go back to court and request a modification. Best to call a local family law lawyer to discuss further, including all the relevant facts to your particular case. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Yes. If you are in my area and are looking for an attorney, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    It will depend on the language in the separation agreement and more facts regarding your employment/income. I would suggest speaking to a divorce attorney about your situation in greater detail.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    The answer depends on your spousal support order. Some spousal support is non-modifiable by agreement of the parties. Barring such an agreement, a change in circumstance such as increased or decreased earnings or increased or deceased need may form a basis to modify the award.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    There are no guarantees, but a drastically reduced income is certainly grounds to file a modification.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    The answer depends in large part on the wording of the support paperwork, which no one here has read. Depending on that wording the answer could be no, or it could be maybe. Either way, see a lawyer to explore your options.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Maybe as long as your decree does not say the maintenance is non-modifiable.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/17/2011
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