As part of a divorce settlement in South Carolina, one spouse will often be ordered to pay alimony to the other spouse. This is one of the many issues that arises in family law. It can be contentious. The paying spouse will frequently want the amount to be lower than what is ordered. The supported spouse might want the amount to be increased. Once the order is made, however, it does not necessarily mean that it will remain the same for its duration. There are circumstances in which it can be modified and terminated. Understanding when this can take place and how to go about it is an important part of the process. It requires legal assistance to cover every factor.
When there is a change in the situation of a party whether it is the paying former spouse or the receiving former spouse and their financial abilities are altered, either can ask the court to increase, decrease or terminate the payments. The court will provide both sides a chance to be heard and to give evidence that is relevant to the case. It will then make an order with consideration given to the changed circumstances and the amount that is paid and received. It can increase, decrease or confirm the current amount. The paying spouse will then be required to make the payments based on the new order.
An important factor in modifying alimony is if the supporting spouse has retired. This is enough to warrant there be a hearing on the case. When assessing the request, the court will take the following into account: if the retirement was being contemplated at the time of the awarding of alimony; the supporting spouse’s age; the supporting spouse’s health; if the retirement is due to the person deciding to retire or they were required to retire; if it will result in a decrease in income; and other factors that the court wishes to consider.
Since a change in how much alimony is paid can have so great an impact on both the paying spouse and the receiving spouse, it is imperative to understand when it can be modified. For each side, having legal assistance is a must. A law firm that is experienced in all areas of family law should be consulted when moving forward with requesting a modification from either perspective. Calling for help and advice is key.