Can I Stop Paying Alimony If I Lose My Job?
You may think that if you lose your job, you are off the hook for making alimony or spousal support payments. However, that is not the case. It is critical that you continue to make your court-ordered alimony payments until you have received permission from the court to do otherwise. Missing a monthly spousal support payment, even for a very valid reason, like suddenly losing your source of income, can still land you in hot water, and you may face legal consequences such as being held in contempt. That having been said, you are not out of options. It’s just important to be proactive and make sure that you are following all the necessary steps to avoid getting in any trouble with the court.
Filing a Request to Modify the Amount of Your Spousal Support Payments
The first step after you have lost your job is filing for unemployment. If you receive an amount of unemployment equal to the amount of money that you were earning through your job, the court is likely to have you continue paying the same amount of spousal support. If you receive a lesser amount of income through unemployment and are unable to find a new job, you can file a request to modify the amount of spousal support that you owe with the court. It will be important to demonstrate that you have been actively trying to find employment and have not had luck in order for the modification to be granted. This is because the court must find that there has been a substantial and ongoing change to your income in order to grant a change in the amount of spousal support that you owe to your ex. If you file a request for modification immediately after losing your job or without first having looked for other sources of income, the judge will likely find that this could be a temporary situation, as there is no evidence that your lack of income will be an ongoing issue at that point. For this reason, it is generally best to wait 1-2 months and look for other jobs after losing yours before filing a petition for modification with the court. Of course, that is if you are financially able to do so. If you do not have sufficient assets to continue making spousal support payments it is important to file a petition with the court before you actually miss a payment. If you miss a payment you may face legal consequences, and losing your job will not get you off the hook. If your unemployment benefits are less than you were earning at your previous job, or you find another job that pays a lower salary, you can file a request to modify the payments that you owe to make them lower.
Contact the Greater Orlando Family Law Today
If your circumstances have changed and you need to modify the amount of alimony or spousal support payments that you pay each month, contact the experienced Orlando alimony attorneys at the Greater Orlando Family Law today to schedule a consultation.