11 Jan Is it Possible to Extend Alimony Payments?
Alimony is sometimes awarded to one spouse as part of a divorce decree. It is meant to provide needed support and reduce unnecessary financial hardships one spouse may face as a result of their separation. Each state takes a different approach to awarding alimony or spousal support as it is commonly called.
Some states indefinitely award support until the spouse receiving payment is able to financially take care of themselves. Often, this results if that spouse remarries or receives education or training that allows them to secure employment. Some courts put a specific timeframe to which one spouse must pay the other. After this time, the paying spouse has no further financial obligations to the other.
In some circumstances, alimony can be extended if the receiving spouse has yet to become financially independent. If you want to prolong your support payments, there are steps you must take to ensure you receive the financial help you need.
First, you will want to examine your divorce decree. The terms of your alimony, including amount and duration, will be found here. There may even be specific provisions which, when met, would allow you to extend payments. Some marriage settlements will specifically state that alimony awards cannot be modified.
To help you determine whether or not you are eligible to extend alimony payments, contact a divorce attorney. He or she will be able to examine the terms of your marriage settlement and assist you with petitioning the court to modify your alimony payments.
Petition the Court
If your divorce decree does not bar you from seeking an alimony extension, you will have to petition the court for a modification. Courts are often hesitant to grant such requests unless you can demonstrate a material change in circumstances.
A material change in circumstances is anything that demonstrates a financial need to extend payments. This can include things like losing a job or being struck with a serious illness or injury. Anything that affects your capacity to earn or reduces your income may be considered a material change in circumstances.
Remember, as the receiving spouse, you must prove that changes in your circumstances warrant an alimony extension. Courts will evaluate each individually when making their determination on whether or not to extend your alimony payments.
Just because your marriage settlement allows an alimony extension, does not necessarily mean you will receive one. The nature of your financial hardship will ultimately determine whether or not the court will grant your request. As a general rule, if you contributed to your loss of income in any way, the court will likely deny any modifications. For example, if you find yourself in a dire financial situation because you voluntarily quit your job, the courts may refuse to order an extension.