When divorcing, spouses may face a significant financial discrepancy. In such cases, the court can order the higher-earning spouse to provide financial support to the lower-earning spouse. This obligation is known as alimony. In today’s society, it’s common for families to have one spouse as the primary breadwinner while the other stays at home to raise the children. While there are various benefits to this family structure, in the event of a separation, it can create an unfair financial disparity. As such, to ensure the dependent spouse can maintain a similar lifestyle to what they became accustomed to during the marriage, the court can order the higher-earning spouse to make alimony payments for a set period. However, when the higher-earning spouse unexpectedly loses their job, they often wonder whether they are still obligated to make alimony payments. Please continue reading to learn whether alimony will end if you lose your job and how a trusted Suffolk County Alimony Attorney can help you understand your support obligation after your divorce.
Will alimony end if I lose my job?
While you may think that if you lose your job, you are automatically off the hook for making alimony payments to your ex-spouse, you are sadly mistaken. If you lose your job, you must continue to make court-ordered alimony payments until you have received permission from the court to do otherwise. It’s vital to understand that an existing alimony order will not cease due to an inability to afford it. Failure to abide by this obligation, even if you have a legitimate reason, like suddenly facing unemployment, can still result in severe consequences, such as being held in contempt of court and being subject to hefty fines. Therefore, it’s essential to seek proper legal guidance from an experienced lawyer who can help you request a modification to reduce or terminate your existing alimony order.
If you want to modify an existing alimony order, you need to prove to the court that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that prevents you from fulfilling your support obligations. Generally, losing your job and failing to find comparable employment is adequate evidence of a significant change in your financial circumstances, which can warrant an alimony amendment. However, you must demonstrate that you have been actively seeking new employment and have been unable to find one, indicating that unemployment was not your choice. You must note that you cannot deliberately quit your job to evade your support obligation. That said, the court weighs various factors to determine whether modifying an existing alimony order is just and appropriate given the circumstances. The following include but are not limited to some factors that can impact the court’s decision:
- Why was the income reduced or lost
- Whether they have consistently made an effort to look for comparable work
- The health and ability of each party to work
- Whether either party has had a significant change in their financial situation since the initial alimony order
- Any other relevant factors
If you’ve lost your job and it has diminished your ability to afford your alimony payments, please don’t hesitate to contact a determined attorney from The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C., who can help you file a request to modify your existing order.