Can I obtain alimony after my divorce is last?


Statistics show that between 40 and 50 percent of all marriages in America end in divorce. With a divorce rate this high, you might think the whole experience is easy, but it’s not. In fact, many people who go through divorce describe it as the lowest point in their lives.

During divorce, it’s possible to make hasty decisions out of heightened emotions or pressure to close the distressing affairs. In this case, you may not be thinking about all the essential issues, especially child support payments, leaving you to revisit the matter later when you are financially strained. Unfortunately, the requirements for proving a necessary adjustment of alimony are a high bar so a person should try to reach the best possible settlement before the divorce is final.

What is alimony?

Alimony is a type of safety net or support that one spouse offers to another to cushion them from the effects of the sudden change in financial status resulting from the divorce.

This is often true when a spouse has sacrificed their life to be a stay-at-home parent. If a divorce occurs under such circumstances, her life could change drastically, leaving the other ex-spouse to pay child support.

Typically, divorcees agree on alimony in the early stages of divorce proceedings, with the court rarely having to adjust the agreement in the final decision. However, this does not mean that a party cannot raise the matter later.

Assuming the divorcee disagrees, the court has discretion in awarding alimony under relevant laws, which vary from state to state. Typically, the court examines the spouses’ financial records — their ability to provide for their day-to-day needs — and then decides who takes what.

Who gets maintenance and how much?

Traditionally, the wife was awarded maintenance. But in today’s situation where all genders have equal opportunities, each partner can receive alimony.

Under normal circumstances, alimony is granted on a rehabilitative basis. Rehabilitation-based spousal support ends at a specified time or when the support recipient becomes self-employed or remarries.

Depending on the jurisdiction, fault may be taken into account when awarding maintenance. This means that the amount of alimony one receives can be high or low depending on their contribution to the factors leading to the dissolution of the marriage.

Claim for alimony after a divorce has been completed

After the final divorce hearing and decision, the divorce case is more or less closed. However, circumstances can change for an ex-spouse after the divorce, creating a need to reconsider the question of alimony. In almost all jurisdictions, the court will require the maintenance party to show evidence of a change in circumstances.

“You have to be ready for a spirited fight because your ex won’t take it.” says family attorney Kevin Colwell of The Colwell Law Group. And the courts won’t allow it that easily either. The court might consider losing a job or a failed venture as a change of circumstances.

However, the party seeking maintenance must prove that the circumstances at the time of the final divorce decree were unforeseeable and have caused a significant change in their financial circumstances. This is very difficult. Therefore, it is best to work with an attorney before the divorce is final to reach a fair alimony agreement. Although the law allows later adjustments, it is rather unsuccessful.

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