Motion for reduction in alimony


#1

My ex has filed pro se for a reduction in alimony because his income has been reduced by approximately 40%. My child support ends when our youngest enters college this fall. He will be paying for both sons’ college expenses and his motion states that he cannot continue to pay me at the same level due to reduction in income and paying for college.

When our house sold, as part of the property division, he got the proceeds of the sale of the marital home. (I received other assests as part of the settlement.)

  1. Is a judge’s decision to modify alimony based on income alone (tax returns), or income AND what is in the bank? If his income has been reduced by 40% but he has, say $50k in savings in the bank from the sale of the house, does the judge take that in to consideration when making a decision, or is that $50k considered off limits as it was gained from the sale of the home which was settled during the property division.

  2. I was a SAHM before and both sons were in high school. Now, I am currently employed and earning an income. Is that taken in to consideration?

  3. Finally, he used some of the money from the proceeds of the sale of the marital home to purchase stock options that were about to expire. Do I have any claim to those (i.e. can I ask for the property distribution to be reopened)? As part of the property distribution, he conceded other assets to avoid relinquishing his stock options.

Thank you in advance.


#2

No, you will not be able to seek the stock options at this point. While I never can predict an outcome in any one particular case, both your current employment and your ex-spouse’s change in income would likely be considered substantial changes. Your alimony could be reduced based on these facts.


#3

Also, yes, a court can consider savings and other assets in considering alimony awards.


#4

My understanding is that it depends upon whether or not alimony is court ordered or settled via a separation agreement as to whether or not it can be modified. Is that still true or is a substantial change grounds to alter alimony amounts?


#5

“he cannot continue to pay me at the same level due to reduction in income and paying for college.”

does he have a valid argument saying that he needs to lower alimony because of paying for college? i am going through the same thing but on the other side. Paying for college is a choice he is making as the children are over 18. He has no legal obligation to pay. Just wanted to ask the lawyer’s input on paying for college.

In my situation i am the one receiving alimony AND helping to pay for college which is my choice. My alimony amount is based on the needs i have for myself and my home. I took out parent loans to help my college children and they are my separate debt. Likewise, i cannot ask for an upward deviation in alimony because of this debt.

is this generally true or is it up to the judge’s discretion thanks. My ex is also asking to modify alimony based on lowered income. Our alimony is through a court order.


#6

Alimony can be modified if outlined in a court order upon a substantial change in circumstances. If alimony is outlined in a separation agreement, it is not modifiable and therefore you may want to include a specific date of termination (for instance when the children reach school age). You must prove that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred to modify. This change must be involuntary for a judge to take it into consideration to modify alimony.