Courts proceed cautiously in considering whether to modify an amount of alimony due to a change in financial circumstances of the parties. If the change in circumstances was expected at the time of the original award of alimony, that change would not be enough to modify the alimony. Slight fluctuations of income from year to year are a common occurrence and will probably not be enough. If you need help changing or modifying the amount of alimony you are paying, contact the family law/alimony attorneys at Maginnis Law, PLLC.
The North Carolina Supreme Court has held that the primary principle in cases determining alimony is fairness to all parties. Unfortunately, in modifying alimony payments, this is not always the case. A court may not modify alimony even if an ex-spouse’s salary or income has been significantly reduced. If the spouse can make the alimony payments with the reduction in income, the court may refuse to modify the amount of alimony. Income variations are a common occurrence and only the income at the time of the original alimony payments orders is considered relevant.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-16.3A(b) sets forth 16 factors to consider in the establishment of alimony. When a party makes a motion to modify alimony payments, the court does not need to consider all 16 factors when making its determination of whether to modify alimony payments.
Not just any change of circumstances will be sufficient to warrant a modification of alimony. The person asking for a modification has the burden of showing a substantial change in conditions that makes the amount of alimony either inadequate or unduly burdensome. The court will look at the present overall circumstances of both parties at the time of modification compared to the circumstances at the time of the original award of alimony to decide if there are substantial changes. The court looks to the original circumstances and factors used in determining alimony, including any estates, earnings, earning capacity, accustomed standard of living of the parties, and any other factors used to set the original alimony award.
Even if a spouse receiving alimony is frivolously spending or wasting the alimony, this may not be sufficient for a modification. The court will rarely look at marital conduct after the award of alimony. Instead the court will only look at the financial needs of the dependent spouse and the ability of the supporting spouse to pay.
If you are paying more than your fair share of alimony, or if you are not receiving the amount of alimony you deserve, contact the family law attorneys at Maginnis Law, PLLC. Preparing for and fighting for a modification of alimony requires attention to detail and diligence. The attorneys of Maginnis Law, PLLC are able to give the necessary level of care to each case to ensure a fair and equitable amount of alimony is received or disbursed for our clients. Whether you are a supporting or a dependent spouse, the attorneys at Maginnis Law, PLLC will provide you with professional and skilled representation.
Maginnis Law, PLLC is a Raleigh, NC law firm accepting family law cases from Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Durham, Morrisville, Clayton, Wake Forest, and throughout the Research Triangle areas. Please contact Wake County Family Lawyer Karl Gwaltney at 919.960.1545 to discuss alimony or any other family law issues. You may also send a confidential email inquiry using our contact page.