Can I stop paying alimony if I lose my job?

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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.

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What Our Clients Are Saying

I hired Susan to represent me in a divorce matter where I was fighting for custody and to limit my wife's equitable share of our assets. I won custody of our son, kept the marital residence, kept my professional practice, kept my building and paid less than half to my wife. This was after a long-term marriage. She could persuade the court that equitable is not equal and sometimes the man does deserve to win!

‐ Dave

I first must say that I had been represented by two prior attorneys both of whom had simply taken my money and left me nothing to show for it in my custody case. They kept telling me what they were doing for me but I found out they were lying. Susan on the other hand had gotten me temporary custody and support for my children and myself within two months of hiring her. I cannot say enough about her.

‐ Craig

After talking to a few other attorneys, I hired Susan to represent me in my divorce and custody dispute. I was reluctant to go with her because she was the cheapest out of all the other attorneys I met with, but I'm so glad I did. I am 100% positive no one else would have done such a great job with my case as Susan and her staff. Her work is quality, her staff is reliable and her character is honorable. There...

‐ Linda

I had a very difficult case where I had already burned through two attorneys who were unable to get me custody of my children and complete my divorce. Susan was able to rapidly work out an agreement and not let it just malinger on like my previous experiences. She was also considerate of my financial situation unlike all of the other lawyers I had spoken to. I highly recommend her if you want complete and caring service with an in-depth knowledge of...

‐ Joanne


The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. proudly serves clients throughout Suffolk County, New York in their divorce, family law, and estate planning matters. If you require the services of an experienced Suffolk County attorney, schedule a consultation with The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

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