Alimony Payments after getting Laid Off


I have a Separation Agreement with a clause for alimony payments in the event that my income is reduced. I was laid off work Oct 18, 2011. The clause is as follows:

In the event that Husband’s total income from all sources in any year shall drop, Husband’s obligation for Alimony payments shall be reduced by the same percentage that his gross income has dropped. For example, if Husband’s average monthly gross income is reduced by five percent (5%) in any given year, then Husband shall reduce his monthly Alimony obligation by five percent (5%) begnning the next year. Prior to any reduction in Alimony payments, Husband shall provide Wife with a filed tax return, which illustrates the reduction in total gross income and a written statement indicating the new amount to be paid with a mathematical formula illustrating the reduction in Alimony. Husband shall not be entitiled to any credit for a reduction of his gross income for the prior year:reductions are to be calculaed on a yearly basis.

How should I apply the above clause? The only income I have right now is $1,018 per month from unemployment. I received 1 mth severance pay and 5 weeks unused vacation when I was laid off on Oct 18th. The confusing part to me is that I will not have a tax return that reflects my reduced pay until March of 2013 when I file my 2012 tax return (assuming it takes me awhile to find a job). My income has gone from $10,000/mth to $1,018/mth. My alimony payment is $1,100/mth. Can I just start paying her $110/mth alimony on Jan 1st 2012 since I have had a 90% reduction in pay?

Thanks very much for your feedback!


I don’t know if only attorneys are supposed to respond here, which I’m not, but surely you knew what you were doing to when you entered into that agreement. 'Sounds like you’d better hang on to that vacation pay to keep up with your alimony because it’s going to be a long time before you can get those payments reduced. I hope you’ve got a back-up source of income. I suppose the alternative would be to get out there and get another job…FAST…or find some money to hire an attorney and get a court hearing as soon as possible.


I cannot review specific terms within your agreement in this forum. What I can say is that alimony as oulined in a SA is binding forever to the terms therein. It will end when your SA says it will end, it will be the amount your SA says, and it can be modified only pursuant to the SA terms. You cannot get the court to modify alimony that is outlined in a SA. If you do not or cannot make alimony payments as agreed, then you are at risk of being found in breach of contract.