Can the Amount of Alimony or Spousal Support Be Modified?
Yes, the amount of alimony or spousal support can be modified if there has been a material change of circumstance. That is the risky part of alimony. Someone can be awarded a modest amount of alimony and then get in a car accident and end up disabled. The Court can then increase the amount substantially. This is one of the reasons, if we’re representing the spouse who makes more money, we always look for ways make a monetary award rather than alimony. In the alternative, alimony is inherently risky for the person receiving it because if the spouse paying alimony dies, alimony ends. Accordingly, we recommend that a life insurance policy be purchased as security. Also, in the long run, alimony can create a personal conflict for someone receiving alimony if they move on and want to remarry because the alimony will end.
If My Spouse Committed Adultery How Does That Impact Alimony Or Spousal Support?
The two primary factors are need and ability to pay. That being said, under the common law, it is part of the general multi-factor test for equitable property distribution.
What Recourse Do I Have If My Ex-Spouse Fails To Pay Alimony?
If an ex-spouse fails to pay alimony, the first line of attack is to file a contempt hearing. The Court has the discretion to award attorney’s fees to the person who filed the contempt action and prevails. In extreme cases, some judges may hold someone in contempt and incarcerate them until they pay what is owed; however, we rarely see this in spousal support cases. For example, is the person unable to pay or just being vindictive. Ultimately, judges don’t want to see people coming into court on multiple contempt motions and taking up their docket. Most Judges will reduce the amount owed to a judgment and then the spouse receiving alimony becomes like any other money judgment creditor. They will have to try to collect through the judgment process, which is time-consuming, expensive, and speculative, at best.
Additional Information Regarding Spousal Support Or Alimony In Maryland
Generally, if it all possible, it is better for people to get closure from a divorce and move on independently of each other.