Changing a separation agreement (non court ordered)

We have a non court ordered separation agreement that was notarized. My spouse had an attorney and I did not. I agreed to an 18 month alimony payment schedule however since Covid my hours and income have drastically changed. My income has been cut almost in half. I have 11 months left to pay however it is causing a hardship on me.

My question is (1) can the agreement be changed, or amended to reflect a lesser amount? (2) is there a form that needs to be filed in court or do I need to have a lawyer draw up a new agreement to send to her attorney (3) since I was without counsel originally, can I contact her or her lawyer to make them aware of the hardship (4) if I only pay what I can afford will I be punished for the breach of contract when we do file for divorce in may of 2021 if I can prove my income decreased since originally signing.
Thank you

I have answered your questions in the same order:

(1) The separation agreement can only be amended if both parties agree to the amendment.

(2) There is no form. You can send a proposed amendment to your spouse for his/her consideration.

(3) You can let your spouse know of your financial hardship to provide reasoning and background for your proposed amendment.

(4) Yes, your spouse could still file a breach of contract lawsuit against you at any time that you do not follow the separation agreement exactly as it obligates you.

Anna Ayscue

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

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