Alimony Reduction Investigation Performed by Liar Catchers
Alimony can be changed. However, it is not easy to convince a court to reduce alimony. Alimony only defines spousal support obligations of a spouse in the present. Spousal support duties are always subject to review and a modification of a "change of circumstances"
What is the standard of law to modify alimony? Alimony can always be modified upon a showing of a "change of circumstances." The party who is seeking a modification of alimony bears the burden of proving that there is a "change of circumstances." The party must show how the changed circumstances have impaired her ability to earn a reasonable living.
What constitutes a "change of circumstances" so as to warrant a modification in alimony? There is no clear-cut answer to what constitutes a "change of circumstances." The most common scenarios are: 1) a reduction in a party's income; 2) illness; 3) a spouse cohabitating/living with an adult member of the opposite sex; 4) retirement; 5) refusal or inability to find employment; 6) the receipt of a large inheritance; 7) support of an ex-wife by her companion.
Who has the burden of showing a "change of circumstances" to seek a modification of alimony? The spouse who seeks a modification of alimony has the burden of showing "changed circumstances." If a party shows a change of circumstance then the court will grant the parties limited discovery. Basically, the parties will then exchange tax returns, pay stubs, and a CIS. The moving party must also prove that the changed circumstances have substantially impaired his/her ability to support himself or herself.If the court believes that the motion to reduce or increase alimony has merit, then it will schedule the case for a plenary hearing.
Can a spouse file a motion for a decrease in alimony? If a payor's income decreases then he can file a motion to request that the court decrease or terminate his alimony obligation. The payor spouse must demonstrate that the decrease in income and/or salary was bona fide, in good faith, and not reduced in order to avoid and limit alimony. If a spouse is unemployed or underemployed then the court may impute income to him. The court may also analyze a payor's/husband's unearned income and assets to assess the merits of an alimony modification motion.
Can alimony be terminated if the former wife now cohabitates/lives with another man? In some cases if a former wife cohabitates/lives with another companion, this may constitute a "change of circumstances" to justify a change in alimony. If the supported spouse lives with another man, then the court may reduce alimony. However, cohabitation alone is not enough to reduce alimony. The cohabitation must also be coupled with some economic consequences in order to modify alimony. The courts use the economic contribution test to determine whether an alimony award to a dependent spouse should be reduced. This test looks to see if the cohabitation is similar to a permanent house situation or a marriage-like relationship. If the dependent spouse's new companion reduces her financial needs, then alimony may be reduced. Moreover, if the dependent spouse is using alimony to support her companion, then the payor spouse has very strong grounds to reduce alimony.The payor spouse has the burden to prove that there has been a prima facie showing of cohabitation. The fact of cohabitation triggers a finding of a change of circumstances. Thereafter, the court will schedule a hearing, and permit the parties to conduct limited discovery. The payee spouse then has the burden to prove to the court that there is no economic consequence from the fact that she is living with another man.
What is the process to make an application to terminate alimony based on the grounds of cohabitation/living together? An application to reduce or terminate alimony based on the grounds of cohabitation is a two-part process. First, the applicant must prove to the court that there is a "change of circumstances" to justify discovery and a plenary hearing. Second, he must prove that there are grounds to justify a reduction.It is important to emphasize that alimony will only be reduced if the applicant can prove that his former wife receives a real economic advantage by living with her companion. The applicant must prove that his former wife receives real support from her new companion. In many cases, it is impossible for an applicant to prove that his former wife receives support from her new companion.
Be prepared with evidence to support your claim. Have your attorney hire Liar Catchers to supply indisputable and admissible evidence.
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