Transitioning financially through divorce has many moving parts. Stress testing your strategy regarding how income and expenses can change your circumstances in the future is important to consider. Understanding how spousal or child support can be modified will help you answer questions such as ‘should I go back to work?’, ‘how much should I spend on rent?’ or ‘how much should I keep in my emergency fund?’ Overall, it also assists you in creating a workable settlement that you feel secure about moving forward.
This topic is subject to state statutes and legal counsel is always advised regarding your specific situation. The following are considered general guidelines. A.M. Financial does not provide legal or tax advice.
Start by reviewing your divorce papers as they might provide insight regarding allowable modifications regarding your case. Some arrangements allow for adjustments due to income changes within a specific percentage by either party. For example, receiving a significant pay raise or transitioning from part-time to full-time work could trigger modifications to support. Other changes in employment, living arrangements (moving in with a boyfriend or roommate) or injuries leading to long-term disabilities can also be cause for support to be modified.
Contractual spousal support agreements mean modifications cannot be made unless stated otherwise. Individuals who have concerns that an ex-spouse could potentially and purposefully be vindictive, e.g., risking their employment in attempts to avoid paying support, should speak with their attorney to see if a contractual support agreement or lump-sum payout would be a workable option for your case.
Be aware that if spousal support decreases more than $15,000 per year within the first three years after a divorce, significant tax consequences could result unless the changes were due to death or remarriage. It is important to speak to an attorney or tax professional to review your cas