Modification of Alimony or Child Support
When you obtained a divorce, your alimony or child support award may have been reached by agreement between you and your former spouse. If you could not agree, the award may have been ordered by a court. When your life circumstances change, regardless of how your support arrangement was made, a change in alimony or child support payments may be necessary as well.
Because any modification to an alimony or child support order will affect your ability to provide for your family, it is crucial to have an attorney’s help when seeking modification of alimony or child support orders.
At Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., our family law attorneys work with families in Spartanburg, Greenville and throughout upstate South Carolina to pursue the modifications to alimony and child support orders that they need. Contact us today to discuss your needs.
Modification of Alimony
The purpose of alimony is to help one spouse maintain the standard of living he or she enjoyed during the marriage when that spouse’s earning capacity is insufficient to bear the standard of living alone.
While some types of alimony awards in South Carolina can be modified, others cannot. Knowing which type of alimony your situation involves can help you determine whether it can be modified and how it may be modified. Your lawyer can help.
Lump sum alimony, which is paid as a fixed amount in either one payment or several installments, typically cannot be modified. Reimbursement alimony, which is paid as a fixed amount to reimburse one spouse for household work contributed or sacrifices made while the other spouse earned a degree or undertook job training to increase his or her earning potential, typically cannot be modified.
However, two types of alimony typically may be modified:
- Permanent periodic alimony – Paid on a permanent basis until the supported spouse remarries, lives with another person for at least 90 days, or until either spouse dies.
- Rehabilitative alimony – Paid to help one spouse become self-sufficient. This amount typically can be modified or terminated.
For permanent periodic alimony or rehabilitative alimony, the person seeking the modification must demonstrate that a “significant change in circumstances” has occurred that justifies the modification. Sometimes, this change in circumstances will involve the remarriage of the supported spouse or the completion of a college degree or career credential by the supported spouse. The loss of a job or other significant source of income by the supporting spouse may also justify a modification of these types of alimony.
However, it is important to understand that only an “unanticipated” change of circumstances will support a modification of an alimony award. An “unanticipated” change is one that the parties did not expect to happen when they made the agreement or court order for alimony.
Modification of Child Support
Like a change in alimony, a change in the amount of child support depends on a demonstration that a “change in circumstances” calls for a modification of the child support agreement or order. Unlike an alimony modification, however, a child support modification must also be in the best interests of the child or children who are receiving support.
Similarly, any “change in circumstances” that justifies a child support modification must be one that was “unanticipated” when the child support amount was agreed upon by the parents or set by the court.
How Can a Lawyer Help with Modification of Alimony or Child Support?
Your lawyer can help you establish that a change in circumstances has occurred, and that a change in alimony is necessary or that a change in child support is in the best interests of your child. Important legal tasks your lawyer can handle on your behalf include:
- Negotiating with your former spouse or the child’s other parent
- Gathering and organizing evidence
- Drafting motions and other documents necessary to resolve your case
- Representing you at all court hearings
- Informing you of your legal rights and the best ways to protect them.
Contact Our Upstate South Carolina Modification of Alimony and Child Support Lawyers
Alimony and child support are crucial in allowing you to support your family after a divorce. Unfortunately, they are also among the most difficult issues in many divorce arrangements. When you work with a lawyer who knows South Carolina family law well, you improve your ability to protect your rights, your finances and the well-being of your family.
The attorneys at Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., are available immediately to speak to you about your situation. Contact us today for a confidential initial consultation.