Paying your ex support is probably not high on your list of things you want to do after your relationship ends. However, for many couples, spousal support or alimony will be a factor in their split.
Knowing some common issues that can arise regarding this matter can help you make informed choices and avoid costly mistakes.
The order is unfair
Calculating spousal support can be incredibly complex, and not everyone will get the same numbers. Thus, someone – such as the courts, your ex or a family law professional – might arrive at an equation that seems unfair to you.
While it may be possible to appeal an order, the more likely and effective solution would be to work with an attorney before the order is in place. Doing so can help you negotiate and argue as necessary until you are satisfied with the outcome.
I can’t keep up with payments
For myriad reasons, people skip or fall behind on payments. If you are in this situation, be prepared for some consequences. You could face enforcement actions like deductions from your bank account, license suspension, passport suspension and all sorts of other nasty things.
To avoid this, always make your payments in full and on time to the best of your ability. Talk to your lawyer about possible modifications if you fall behind. However, you will likely have to demonstrate a material change in circumstances which leads to our next topic….
My circumstances have changed
Regardless of how long your order is in place, people and circumstances can change during that period. In cases where these changes significantly impact your financial means, you may need to revisit your spousal support order.
Some of the situations that might constitute a significant change include:
- Your ex remarries (in some cases)
- You remarry (in some cases)
- You lose your job
- Your needs or capabilities change dramatically
Under these and similar circumstances, changing an order might possibly be appropriate.
How to address these issues
Tackling these issues can be less than straightforward. So, it’s best to get legal help.
Working with a family law lawyer before, during and even after your order is in place is a good idea. Second, review carefully what your lawyer drafts up. Consider including a review date, which sets a date to assess whether changes or termination is a good idea. Consider alternate dispute resolution measures that provide constructive alternatives to court.
Finally, don’t be afraid to speak up when issues arise. Letting them go on too long or hoping they will go away on their own can ultimately make a bad situation worse.