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Periodic Alimony Award Upheld Despite Husbands Change in Income


Many ex-spouses depend on alimony to maintain their day to day lives. However, even if you have been awarded alimony and heavily rely on it to support yourself, it can still be modified or even terminated. There are several reasons why alimony can be modified or terminated:

  • Financial changes or change of employment for either party
  • Death of either party
  • Remarriage
  • Cohabitation

Typically, alimony modifications are granted if there is change in the payer’s employment; be that as it may, if the payer is still able to make the alimony payments, regardless of the decrease in salary, the payer will still be obligated to make payments.

In a divorce proceeding arising out of Limestone County, Alabama, in the cases of Blood v. Blood, a husband’s annual salary was reduced by $30,000; however, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals declined to change his alimony obligation.

Here, the parties entered into a divorce agreement in April 2012. Pursuant to the agreement, the former husband was ordered to pay $1, 146 per month in child support. Also, the former husband was also ordered to pay $1,000 per month for 36 months in periodic alimony, followed by $1,500 per month for 24 months in periodic alimony.

In October 2013, the former husband filed a complaint in the trial court seeking to modify his child support and alimony obligation due to a significant change in his financial situation caused by loss of employment. The former husband asked the trial court for a temporary change in his child support obligation while he sought out a new job.

At trial, evidence was introduced that the former husband owed $74,000 in back pay child support pursuant to a unrelated Florida judgment. Specifically, the former husband was ordered to pay $2,000 a month in child support for his daughter conceived with another woman.

There was evidence presented to the trial court that the husband had been laid off subsequent to the divorce and had sporadic employment since then. However, at the time of the trial, the former husband was making $9,167 per month at his current employer. The former husband claimed his living expenses were $4,096 per month but that he was paying $6,049 per month in unpaid child support and alimony.

The trial court ruled that the husband had not made a good faith effort to reduce his child support obligations in Florida. The trial court denied his request to reduce the alimony obligation and order him to pay $872 per month in child support. The former husband appealed.

On appeal, the husband furthered that his income had decreased from $140,000 per year to $110,000, that he had depleted all of his savings while he was unemployed, that he filed for bankruptcy, and that his monthly obligations exceeded his monthly income.

Evidence was presented to the trial court that the former husband was making monthly charitable contributions in the amount of $846 per month, which the trial court found to be inappropriate. Also, there was testimony at the trial court that the former husband stated that he had not attempted to reduce his child support payment in Florida.

The appellate court noted since the alimony obligation was pursuant to a divorce agreement that such a provision should not be modified without close scrutiny. After reviewing the trial court record, the appellate court ruled, “that the decision of the trial court was not unsupported by the evidence or plainly or palpably wrong.” Accordingly, the Court of Civil Appeals affirmed the trial court’s order regarding the child support and alimony obligation.

As many know, divorces can take a turn for the bad and many like to seek out divorce settlements as soon as possible. However, many individuals become so focused on obtaining a hasty divorce that they neglect to secure adequate protection for themselves or their children in their divorce settlements, such as negotiating the correct amount of child support or alimony.

In order to protect yourself and your children, seek out a divorce attorney who can execute an optimal divorce agreement that ensures you’re not left in a vulnerable position.

if you need a Divorce lawyer call Joseph A. Ingram at (205) 335-2640.

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