Unilateral change in alimony


I have a legal separation agreement providing me alimony that is to continue until death/marriage/cohabitation/substantial change of circumstances, including change in employment, unemployment, or retirement, at which time the amount of support shall be renegotiated or modified.

We are now divorced.

I just received an email from my ex-husband stating that he intends to change the amount of the alimony and delivery method (regular mail rather than direct deposit) effective December 1.

He has voluntarily taken a different job that has a lower salary. It was $129,000 and it is now $99,000. Since he took a job with 23% less pay, he intends to lower the alimony by the 23% reduction that he took.

Instead of $2500 per month he intends to pay $1897.50 per month.

Is the amount of money now being earned classified as “a substantial change of circumstances?”

This is a significant reduction!

Can he just do that? What should I do?


The terms of the agreement are vague however my reading of it is that you have to renegotiate the terms upon a substantial change. I do not believe that a voluntary income reduction would necessarily be held to be a large enough change for a modification. I would suggest you meet with an attorney and file a breach of contract action.


I would like to proceed with the breach of contract action.
What is the process?
How long does it take for the action to be resolved?
He intends to change the amount Dec 1. I would like to be prepared to proceed immediately.
What information will you require?


You will first file a lawsuit for breach on contract and have it served upon your spouse. There may or may not be a need for some discovery (obtaining information prior to trial), and the final step will be the trial itself. Depending on the county you live in the entire process could take several months. If you wish to move forward with an attorney here at Rosen you will need to contact our client liaison by dialling the main number for our office in your area and selecting extension 100. You will then be able to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to create an action plan specific you your case.