If you are a spouse who is currently being awarded alimony, it’s important to note that alimony can be altered. As shocking as this may be, there are situations which warrant your alimony being raised or even lowered.
You are probably wondering what type of situations warrant such a change. Specifically, you as the payee- i.e the one receiving alimony, must show to the court that there has been an increase in your needs since the time of the divorce.
Even though proving increased needs to the court may sound like an easy burden to overcome, it was proven to be a difficult task. For example, in an alimony case that originated in Blount County, Alabama, in the case of Johnson v. Johnson a husband salary increased from $679,000 to $18 million; however, the Court of Civil Appeals held the sole increase of a salary didn’t grant a change in alimony payments. Here, the parties were divorced in 2009, and in January 2015 the wife filed an amended petition to alter her alimony. The trial court granted the petition and increased the alimony payment by $2,000.
Accordingly, the husband appealed arguing that an increase in salary is not sufficient to support a change in alimony. The Court of Civil Appeals agreed with the husband. The appellate court stated that an increase in the payor spouse’s income is not sufficient to warrant a modification of alimony without evidence that the payee spouse corresponding financial needs had increased. See Capone v. Capone, 58 So. 3d 1258, 1262 (Ala. Civ. App. 2010).
The wife had based her need for an alimony modification on her increase in her cost of living; specifically, the wife testified that she co-pay for medical expenses, gas, and vacation expenses. However, all the mentioned expenses that drove up her cost of living were present the time of the divorce.
The appellate court held that an increase in the cost of living alone is not sufficient to justify an alimony modification and that there needs to be evidence presented before such modification could take place. Thus, the Court of Civil Appeals reversed the order in regard to the alimony modification.
When attempting to alter alimony, it is the petitioner’s burden to prove that there has been a change in circumstances since the divorce settlement. Here, the wife only supplied the trial court with evidence of expenses that were present at the time of the divorce; therefore, the wife did not meet her burden.
Even though things didn’t end in favor for the payee in this situation, you still may be entitled to an increase in your alimony. Your ability to have your alimony modified depends on the specific circumstances of your case.
To place yourself in the best position possible, seek out an attorney who will work vigorously to provide the best outcome for you. Contact Ingram Law LLC at (205) 656-0044., we work diligently to ensure you receive the best solution possible.