The purpose of spousal support in a New York divorce is to allow both spouses to continue to maintain a similar standard of living as when they did when they were married. In this situation, the wealthier spouse makes spousal support payments to the less wealthy spouse for a certain length of time based on either an agreement between the spouses or by the court. What happens when the spouse receiving support now makes more money than the former spouse making the payments?
Temporary Modification in Alimony
If you now make more money than your former spouse, the termination of your receipt of alimony payments will be determined by the specific circumstances of your case and the reasons why you are now making more money than your ex. If the reason why you are making a higher income is due to a temporary situation, your alimony payments may not cease. If your former spouse is suddenly comes down with an illness, loses his or her job, or encounters some other hardship, the order to make spousal support payments does not terminate. However, your former spouse may request a temporary modification in alimony payments to decrease or eliminate payments until the situation is resolved. Then alimony payments would resume from your spouse to you.
Change in Circumstances
If you are now making more money than your spouse because of a job promotion, advanced education, or increased job training where the income situation is permanent, the chances are more likely than not that your alimony payments will terminate. Your former spouse can petition the court for a modification in spousal support based on a substantial change in circumstances. In this case, the change in circumstances is that you no longer need your spouse’s help in maintaining the standard of living you enjoyed as a married couple. Therefore, the court may order a significant decrease or termination of spousal support payments from your spouse to you.
However, you should always speak with an experienced divorce attorney first before going to court on any matters pertaining to your alimony payments. A knowledgeable divorce attorney may be able to convince the court that a complete termination of alimony payments should not be required and that spousal support should still continue based on the terms of the finalized divorce agreement. Another argument your attorney might make is that spousal support payments could decrease but not terminate altogether because the change in income levels still does not meet the standard of living you were accustomed to during the marriage.
Talk to Our Office Today
Just because you now make more money than your former spouse does not automatically mean the termination of your alimony payments. To learn more about your legal options for spousal support, call or contact the Law Offices of Steven Gildin in New York today.