Even though child support and maintenance payments (alimony) are court ordered, it is possible to modify either amount. The modification process requires a hearing and the party requesting the modification is required to submit proof to support his or her request. While not all reviews lead to modification, finding out that your former spouse is attempting to reduce your court ordered payments is often stressful. Being aware of changes that may affect your support payments gives you more time to prepare for any review that your former partner may request.

Receiving Money

If you receive any money that substantially changes your financial circumstances, you may have your support order modified. A spouse who has found out that you were recently received a significant lump sum of cash may request a review in order to have his or her financial obligations reduced. During the review process the court will verify the information provided to be sure that a substantial change in circumstances actually occurred. Once the change is confirmed, a full review is scheduled and a decision regarding the modification request is provided once it is complete. Small changes in your income are usually not considered a substantial change in circumstances that qualifies for a reduction in court ordered support payments.

Major Illness

Should your former partner become seriously ill, his or her alimony or child support obligations may be reduced. A serious illness is one that will make working difficult, or impossible, for at least one year. In order to qualify for relief your former spouse must provide proof of the medical diagnosis and how it will affect his or her ability to earn an income. Though your spouse may benefit from a reduction in obligations if seriously ill, you may also qualify for an increase in support if you or your child become seriously ill or permanently disabled.

Job Loss

The loss of a job is one of the most common reasons for child support and alimony payment modifications. An ex-spouse who receives at least a 25% loss of income may qualify for a support payment modification. However, the income reduction must be involuntary such as being laid off or an employer going out of business. Voluntarily leaving a higher paying job to work for a lower wage, deciding to become self-employed, or voluntarily reducing hours worked are not considered valid reasons to have child support or alimony payments reduced.

Contact an Attorney

Receiving notification that your former spouse is seeking to reduce support payment amounts is upsetting, especially if you and your children rely on the funds to cover basic household expenses. Once you become aware of the modification request, it is vital that you contact a qualified divorce settlement modification attorney. The compassionate attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum understand how overwhelming returning to court after a long divorce process can be.  We are prepared to help protect your rights and to ensure that you receive the representation you need. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at one of our four conveniently located Atlanta area offices.