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Spousal Support Can Be Modified In The Event Of An Undue Hardship

Interviewer: What happens if you’re paying spousal support and you lose your job? Or if you get a raise? Can either party ask for it to be modified?

Michael Anderson: Yes they can ask for it to be modified. Usually we don’t see people requesting more money, unless there’s some type of cancer or some type of situation where you require additional funds. Most of the time there’s not a requirement to continue disclosing income in the future. So usually once it set and signed, usually it does not go up – it’s really rare for that to happen. As far as getting it lowered if somebody loses their job, yeah that’s absolutely a possibility. It requires a substantial change in income. So if it’s just a few dollars, or a few hundred dollars a month, the court’s not going to review that as a substantial change, it’s got to be pretty significant.

It is a Good Idea Not To Share Financial Information With the Other Party After A Divorce Has Been Finalized

Interviewer: Would it be a bad idea to show off to your spouse if you get a new car later on – they might ask you for you to increase the spousal maintenance?

Michael Anderson: Absolutely. That’s a bad idea! It’s better just not to – I mean I know some couples that remain friends and things afterwards. But it’s a good idea not to share financial information with the other party at all. It’s good to just make the payment and move on, and not to bring up or be flashy by any means. Buy a regular car, don’t be flashy at all. Don’t go through a mid-life crisis after a divorce.

In The Event Of Non Payment of Spousal Support, the Court Can Find the Non Paying Party In Contempt

Interviewer: What happens if one party’s ordered to pay but they won’t pay – they’ve refused spousal maintenance? What remedies are available?

Michael Anderson: On spousal maintenance we have to go through the court and we can do what’s called an order to show cause for non-payment, ask the court to find the non-paying party in contempt. And what that means is if they’ve violated the court order, if they haven’t made the payment, they have to prove or explain why they haven’t made them. Most of the times there is no good reason, which is they simply didn’t want to. Even losing a job isn’t a reason, they would have to file their own motion to have the spousal maintenance lowered or changed. And if they don’t do that, they will still be found in contempt. We can ask for, if it’s deliberate, we can ask for jail time and they’ll be put in jail. Most of the time what we do is, we have the amount reduced to a judgment where it’s collecting interest and then we usually garnish that spouse’s wages. If they have assets, we will send a sheriff or constable out to seize those assets and sell them. If they have bank accounts, we can garnish those bank accounts. If they want to settle, we usually can get some type of retirement if they have a 401-k or other type of retirement plan, but they can do an off-set or an early withdrawal to meet that. I currently have a case right now for a pilot, where he didn’t pay spousal support and we’re garnishing his wages – and those are big checks because pilots make a lot of money.

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