Spousal support, otherwise known as alimony, is monetary payments made by one spouse to another for the purpose of acknowledging the non-monetary contributions that a spouse has made to the marriage. The purpose of alimony is to help one spouse get back on their feet and become financially independent now that they are on their own.
Alimony payments may be paid in installments, or at once as a lump sum payment. The amount of alimony is dependent upon the financial standing of the individual providing it.
But what happens when circumstances change?
Reasons for Alimony Increase
There are four reasons as to why you may want to request modification of alimony:
Spouses Agree to Modify. Alimony may be increased if both you and your former spouse agree to an increase. Former spouses do not need the court to increase payments of alimony. While it is nice for divorced couples to come to an agreement, it is also important to have that agreement signed by a judge. Without a signature from a judge, the court will not be able to enforce the agreement.
Cost of Living Adjustment Clause. If you include a cost of living clause in your divorce decree, this means that your alimony will increase at a rate that is equal to the annual cost of living. By doing so, you alleviate any need to later modify the agreement.
Escalator Clause. An escalator clause in an original divorce decree means that as the payor’s income increases, the recipient receives an automatic percentage of the increase.
Temporary Modification. Things such as loss of employment and illness may be cause for an increase in the amount of alimony that the recipient receives. However, temporary modification is valid for a set timeframe. Once the timeframe expires, payments will return to their pre-hardship state.
Circumstances Change. The alimony recipient may request an increase in support if his or her former spouse has a significant increase in income.
Other changes in circumstance may include:
- A change in the law
- The former spouses are intimately cohabitating
- Inflation causes the cost of living to increase
- The Alimony recipient’s need for support decreases
- Financial emergency
What May Not Increase Alimony?
A court will be less likely to increase alimony if:
- Change in financial circumstances is not significant
- The alimony recipient caused or contributed to a change in financial circumstances
- The alimony recipient has another stream of revenue/source of income
- The payor’s financial situation has greatly declined.
If you or a loved one has experienced divorce and are having issues with alimony, it is important to seek a knowledgeable and experienced South Jersey alimony lawyer. Serving clients in Camden County, Burlington County, and Atlantic County in South Jersey, we will help you to receive the alimony you deserve. For a free consultation, call (856) 512-1461 or contact us online today.