Many people are unaware that support can be modified after their divorce is completed. The support can be modified down or up, depending on a number of factors. The factors the court can consider usually must create a "Change in Circumstances" for the court to modify the amount.
Some factors or reasons for modifying support are:
1) Spousal Support (Alimony) terminates but Child Support continues. Many times the reduction in Spousal Support will cause the "Guideline" Child Support amount to increase. The courts have ruled that termination of spousal support is a "Change in Circumstances.";
2) The Payor’s income increases or decreases. The support that is set by the court or agreed by the parties is based primarily on both parties’ gross incomes. If the payor’s income decreases, a support reduction may be in order. The same is true that an income increase could create a support increase. Also, regarding income reduction by the payor, the court will inquire as to the reasons for the loss in income to determine if it is legitimate and reasonable;
3) The Payee’s (supported spouse) income increases or decreases; The same is true of changing income of the Payee (supported spouse) as is of the Payor. If the payee begins making much more income, the court assumes a "reduced need for support.";
4) The Payor retires. The payor is allowed to retire at or over age 65 and the court will not "impute" income even if the party is capable of working and earning. However, workers retiring before age 65 may have income "imputed" to them for purposes of calculating support, even if they are eligible to retire before age 65;
5) The supported party remarries or cohabitates; Once a supported party remarries, there is a presumption the new spouse will support that person, and support ends. If a supported party is found to be "cohabitating" (defined as living with a person of the opposite sex, generally, and having a romantic relationship), the cohabitation may not "terminate" the spousal support, but it creates a "presumption" of reduced need.
There are numerous other reasons why support might be modified, including hardships, unforeseen circumstances, expenses and medical reasons. Be sure to contact Kevin J. Kensik, Attorney to discuss the unique facts of your case.