Alimony modification Questions


#1

We separated in July 2012, and were heading for litigation in court when he suddenly decided to settle. (I didn’t know at the time, but this was due to the fact that he had just moved in with a new girlfriend.) So we agreed on Alimony numbers that were based on his salary (which was double my salary) and we finalized the divorce in Dec. 2015.

Since then he has paid alimony on time, but has recently lost his job and has just emailed me that he is experiencing age discrimination in his job search and as such, may have to take a lower salary and if so he wants a court visit to lower alimony amount. He still lives with the girlfriend, and they bought a house but his name is not on the deed.

My question is this: can the girlfriend’s salary but considered for purposes of determining a new alimony amount or would they have to be married for it to be considered? What other factors are considered in a request for a modification?


#2

The girlfriend’s salary (even if she was his wife) would not be considered in alimony modification. However, a judge would likely consider the impact of his expenses by having someone live with him (usually expenses will be less by having a roommate, live-in girlfriend, etc. because expenses for one household are typically shared).

However, if your alimony terms are in a separation agreement (vs. a court order), there can only be a modification to the terms if you agree.


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#3

We have a Consent Order signed by a Family Court Judge, so that is a Court Order, right? Does that mean it can only be changed by a Judge?

So if I understand correctly, the judge may informally consider the girlfriend’s salary? In that case, would she be forced to show what her salary is? How would that process work?

And could I ask that my attorney’s fees by paid for by him? Because I am assuming I would have to get my attorney involved in this.


#4

Yes, you have a court order. So it can be modified with a showing of a substantial change in circumstances. You can agree for it to be modified but if you don’t, a judge could modify it regardless of whether or not you agree.

The judge won’t informally consider the girlfriend’s salary and it would not come into evidence. The judge would consider your ex-husband’s expenses and could determine that he doesn’t have as many expenses due to having someone to share expenses with, thus freeing up some of his income for alimony purposes.

Yes, you could ask for attorney’s fees.


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#5

If h e decides to request a modification, would I be notified by the court? And, where can I call to see if he has started this process? Wake County courthouse?
thanks!


#6

If he is asking the court to modify alimony, then he would have to file a motion to modify and it is required to be served on you before the court can do anything. If you have not received any court paperwork by certified mail or from a sheriff’s deputy, then he has likely not filed anything yet.

You can check at the clerk’s office by giving them the file number on the current alimony order to check to see if any recent filings have been made.


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#7

What is my recourse if he just decides that he can’t/won’t pay any more alimony due to the fact that he found a new job and it pays much less than his old one? What do I do if he just stops paying?


#8

Since you have an alimony court order, you would be able to file a contempt motion (called a motion and order to appear and show cause) against him if he does not pay as the order specifies. Unless the court order grants him the authority, he cannot stop paying alimony on his own without one of the terminating events stated in the order occurring (cohabitation, remarriage, last payment, etc.).


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.