Jojo4124's picture

Can alimony be changed? My dh didn't hire an atty and his ex gets half his income...they were married 25 years n the kids are adults 

justmakingthebest's picture

If there is a signed agreement, the SHOULDN'T be able to change it. However, depending on the judge and what he/she considers extenuating circumstances... who knows? Family court is a crap shoot. 

ESMOD's picture

It depends upon a lot of things.  Has his income situation changed drastically?  Has she moved on and has she remarried or is she living with someone else?

The fact that his kids are adults has no bearing on ALIMONY.. that is money meant to support the dependent spouse.  

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers provides a useful guideline for determining duration of spousal support:  “The duration of the award is arrived at by multiplying the length of the marriage by the following factors:  0-3 years (.3); 3-10 (.5); 10-20 years (.75); over 20 years permanent alimony.” 

It looks like your husband would fall into the latter category.. but of course individual state law would also be relevant.

Ostensibly, the support for someone married over 20 years somewhat assumes that one spouse has put their ability to develop a career aside in the interest of supporting their spouse as a homemaker and caretaker of kids.  They did this for years which save the couple the money that might have been spent on daycare and the spouse may have supported the spouse so that they could work the long hours and earn more.  someone who has put their ability to develop skills on the back burner for 25 years means that it would be difficult for them to jump in as a late middle aged person to get education/certifications to provide for their own support.  

Note, I don't say impossible.  Certainly, they may have some ability to become employed and start earning their own money.. but they missed out on 25 years in the workplace.. where their skills and ability to earn would have improved over time.

You could say that the decision was joint in their mariage to have one spouse stay home.. so, the earning spouse may still have some obligation to provide some support after the mariage.  I would say.. this might especially be true if the earning spouse is the one who decides to end the marriage... though.. there could be valid reasons why the other spouse left that wouldn't negate them getting support.

Your husband should seek legal counsel and see what his options are.. there may be something in his divorce papers that would already show when/how it could be reduced.. but also if his earnings have reduced.. then payments to his ex may be possibly adjusted.


notsurehowtodeal's picture

Read the divorce decree. There was specific wording in DH's decree that said alimony could not be modified by either party. If that language is not there, depending on the laws of your state, he might be able to get it modified. He was married over 20 years, and paid alimony for 10 years.

Why is this a concern? I thought you had decided to leave?

Jojo4124's picture

Really "well behaved" n wants this to work. I already moved into my brothers house. I thought I was strong, but he IS making changes n helping me with my car....I think I am confused. Maybe seeing the changes, hoping they stick. If he signs the post nup, lol

Rags's picture

Alimony and arrears in CS are forgivable via bankruptcy if I am not mistaken.  He can go that route if the rest of the situation will support it.  Talk to an attorney.

My parents had a rought patch when I was in my early to mid teens.  Dad assured me that if he and mom were to divorce that "your mom will always be provided for very well".  I never feared them splitting, but dad's commitment to my mom no matter what has always stood out to me as extremely honorable.  

Fortunately, it was not a thing that had to be put to the test.  Though with my dad, it would have never ended.



notarelative's picture

Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t wipe out all types of debt. Certain debts are considered too important to be discharged in bankruptcy. These are called nondischargeable debts. Domestic support obligations such as alimony and child support are nondischargeable debts that can’t be eliminated by filing for bankruptcy.

Rags's picture

"Bankruptcy will not get rid of past-due child support and alimony. But you can use it to manage them and keep out of jail and family court." Apparently.

A good friend and former colleague of mine had his  CS arrears discharched as part of his bankruptcy based on it being misinterpreted by a family law court since he paid his CS separately from voluntary additional support he paid.    Once he ran into financial issues he reverted to paying only CS.  When his XW took him to court in an effort to get his CS raised to the level of CS + extras he was paying before, the Judge granted her petition which he refused to pay accruing a notable balance in arrears. The bankruptcy court discharged the arrears due to the maximum level of CS that was orignally awarded and since the new COd CS exceeded the state requirement for his income level.  The earlier court had raised his CS above what he owed due to his income.  Accounting rules lowered his income though he was doing very well, until he wasn't.

I agree that generally COd support is not discharged by bankruptcy.  Thanks for the link.  Though there does seem to be the occassional exception.  

His XW went ballistic when the bankruptcy court discharged his arrears and their son turned 18 shortly after   She was SOL at that point. What made it more infuriating for her was that he was loaded.  He declared personal bankruptcy after he closed his business due to business losses and the loss of related income.  His DW made, and still makes, bank.  He started a new businss a couple of years later and added several zeros to his wealth. He did pay for his first family DS's college.  His stories about his infurated XW and the attempts by his DS into guilting him into paying his XW the earlier accrued arrears were epic.

I suppose he could afford a killer bankruptcy lawyer and it paid off for him.  That and he never missed a legitimate CS payment.

Harry's picture

Get remarried,  What she will not do, just live in sin 

Or something happens toDH income,    How are they going to handle it when DH retires?  His income will be less ?  
you need to get the case transcripts,  to see what actually was said in court.  That  the ex gave up what to get that type of money.  Like your DH would not let her work. a job when they were married. 

Jojo4124's picture

A lazy mooching narcissist. Even evil skids say that lol. She lives with a guy she calls her "life partner" not boyfriend lol she will never marry just to make dh pay. I am sure he wasnt the perfect hubby, or father evidently. I mean, no one is perfect, I am just saying maybe she DOES deserve him to pay for some reason. She has a realtor license but her new man is happy to support her. How to find men like this?! Lol just kidding 

NoWireCoatHangarsEVER's picture

In Florida living with someone as a life partner certainly could maybe count for that.  You would need a private investigator to get a lot of proof and you would need to look at the terms of the divorce