It is not unusual for financial circumstances to change after a divorce, and Nebraska law allows for either ex-spouse to make a request for modification of support, be it a paying spouse who can no longer afford his or her support payments or a nonpaying spouse in need of additional support.
There may be a justification for modifying alimony if it can be proven that there has been a “material change in circumstances,” usually meaning there has been a substantial change in income for either party.
The court will look carefully at the needs of the person receiving alimony and their ability to meet their own needs as well as the ability of the person paying alimony to meet their obligation. The person making the modification request must prove changed circumstances, and those circumstances cannot be temporary or small.
For those who are currently unable to meet their spousal support obligations, it is vitally important to take steps right away to have a support order changed. Any support payments that are missed – called “arrears” – cannot be discharged by the court retroactively. Support payments are also not dischargeable if you file bankruptcy.
It is also important to follow the proper procedures to avoid facing a contempt order for violating the terms of the original court order. Too often, people will get into trouble because they thought they had an agreement worked out with an ex-spouse, only to find themselves facing charges of non-payment and contempt of court.
Your Nebraska divorce attorney is the best resource for providing you with the information you need to proceed with a proper modification of support request. He or she will be able to guide you through the necessary steps for filing your modification of support request with the court, so it is formalized and a matter of record.
Since every divorce situation is unique, you should speak with your divorce attorney about support modification in your specific case. Contact your Koenig│Dunne family law attorneys to decide the best way to protect your interests.