What if I Can’t Afford to Pay Alimony?

money with gavel

Alimony or spousal support is sometimes required after a separation or divorce. Intending to help a lower-earning spouse financially support themselves after a divorce, alimony payments tend to come in monthly installments. You may be required to pay alimony for various reasons including if your spouse sacrificed the furthering of their education or career for the good of your marriage, or to prevent the separation from having a significant negative impact on your spouse’s standard of living. Spousal support is calculated based on various factors to ensure a fair monthly amount. However, if your situation changes and you can no longer afford your alimony payments, what can you do? Some steps can be taken to resolve this issue with the help of an experienced Memphis, Tennessee alimony lawyer.

How is Alimony Calculated?

Because every family and relationship is different, alimony will differ for every couple. However, to ensure that a fair decision is made there are certain formulas a court may utilize to reach their determination. Formulas can vary from state to state, but generally, they consider the following factors.

  • The income and earning capacity of each spouse
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • The length of the marriage
  • If there are any children involved and their ages
  • Child custody agreements if applicable
  • The couple’s standard of living during the marriage
  • Why they are getting divorced

Spousal support payments are typically based on a percentage of the paying spouse’s income in relation to the receiving spouse’s ability to financially support themselves.

How Can I Prove That I Can’t Afford Alimony Anymore?

Because the court will examine a wide variety of details of the lives of both spouses, you should be able to afford your required alimony payments. However, you could have been able to afford them at one point but cannot anymore if your circumstances have changed. Typically you won’t see an immediate adjustment of alimony if your income changes, you will have to request it.

To prove that you can no longer afford alimony payments you will need to show that you have experienced a significant change in your financial status. Some valid reasons for requesting a modification can include being fired or laid off from work, taking a substantial involuntary pay cut, becoming severely ill or disabled, or having other new financial responsibilities.

With the help of your lawyer, you can petition the court to decrease or terminate your alimony payments. They will examine the details of your updated situation and determine whether or not to grant you a modification.

Should I Hire a Lawyer if I Can’t Afford Alimony?

If you and your spouse went through litigation you have likely worked with an attorney before. It is highly recommended that you contact your lawyer if you find yourself unable to afford your alimony payments. They can help you petition the court for a modification and ensure that you have the necessary documents and follow proper procedures.