To Modify or Not to Modify Support

Once support issues have been ironed out over the course of a divorce, one tends to think they are set in stone. This is not the case, and the support amount may be adjusted later.

“There are circumstances where support (alimony/maintenance) may indeed be modified later and those may include losing a job, becoming disabled, having to take a significant pay cut to keep a job or other major changes in one’s life, such as a significant illness,” explained Bradley J. Hofland, a Las Vegas family law attorney with Hofland, Beasley & Galliher. Even though a final divorce decree stated amounts and times those payments were due, the law does understand that things change over time.

“In order to go for a post-decree modification, the change to a person’s life must be a significant one in order for the courts to consider allowing a reduction in the amount of support originally part of the final decree, said Hofland. To file a post-decree modification, hire a family law attorney with extensive experience in this area of the law. They are there to outline all the available options depending on what circumstances are present at the time of the filing.

Don’t wait to file a post-decree modification, as payment under the original decree must continue until the court has heard and modified the new application. The longer one waits to do this, the more money they may ultimately pay out. “Be aware though that the “change” cited in the post-decree modification needs to be very significant in order for the courts to consider making changes,” added Hofland, a Las Vegas family law attorney with Hofland, Beasley & Galliher.

In other words, losing a job might not be a valid reason for the courts, as they look at each individual situation prior to making any changes. For instance, if the party applying for a post-decree modification has a fair number of assets, this would mean they could still afford to pay support.

“Just because an application has gone to court for consideration does not mean the payments may be stopped or reduced until the court says so, and it definitely does not mean reduced payments are retroactive. On the other hand, if the decision is for an increase in support, those payments would be retroactive,” said Bradley J. Hofland, a Las Vegas family law attorney with Hofland, Beasley & Galliher.

If facing a situation where it looks like filing for a post-decree modification makes sense, hire a top-notch family law attorney to help negotiate all the twists and turns that may be down the road.

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