Reasons Spousal Support Can Be Terminated

August 14, 2016

spousal support termination in Columbus Ohio

Spousal support, which many people still call alimony, is awarded based a complicated calculation of the recipient’s need and the payer’s ability to write checks that won’t bounce. A change in either former spouse’s financial situation can justify reductions in or cancellation of spousal support. 

A man or woman can ask a judge to modify a spousal support order for the following reasons: 

  • He or she becomes unemployed for a long period. This applies both to getting laid off and being unable to find a new job and to winding up in jail. Courts will consider all legitimate inabilities to pay alimony. Incarceration does not immediately remove the obligation to pay alimony, but a long sentence can be cited as a hardship that cannot be overcome.
  • He or she becomes disabled. Significant increases in health care expenses combined with being unable to work provide strong evidence for deserving release from a court order to pay spousal support. The court will ask for evidence that the disability is long-term (a year or longer).
  • He or she has a new child with a person who is not their ex-spouse. Courts place a parent’s financial obligation to a child above continued payment to a former husband or wife. Conceiving or adopting a child after divorce can affect the duty to pay spousal support.
  • The ex-spouse moves in with a new partner. Reductions in spousal support granted for this reason will reflect the alimony recipient’s need to pay less out of their own earnings for housing and personal expenses.
  • The ex-spouse remarries. Courts operate under an assumption that spouses share household and personal expenses equally, which relieves a former partner’s financial obligations. 

Be aware that only an Ohio family court judge can legally terminate or reduce spousal support. While ex-spouses can agree between themselves that payments should stop, be skipped for some period, or cut by a certain amount, the original contract created by the divorce decree will remain in effect until a new court ruling is made. A man or woman can seek to have an unmodified spousal support order enforced at any time. Means for enforcing spousal support include wage garnishments, asset and property seizures, and payment of interest on missed installments. 

The divorce lawyers with Edward F. Whipps & Associates can answer all your questions regarding spousal support termination in Columbus, Ohio. To request an appointment, fill out this web form or call (614) 461-6006.

 

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