Will My Alimony Payments Change Due To COVID-19?

Will My Alimony Payments Change Due To COVID-19?

Will My Alimony Payments Change Due To COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world. For more than a year and a half, the entire world shut down and isolated in their homes. Kids also started doing school remotely, and millions of people lost their jobs. This increase in unemployment had a significant impact on alimony payments. This piece will answer the question, “Will my alimony payments change due to COVID-19?”

The Basics Behind Alimony Payments

Before we can discuss how alimony payments changed during COVID-19, we must understand what alimony payments are. Spousal support (alimony) is financial support given to one party from the other after a divorce. The courts enforced alimony payments to ensure that one party was not dramatically affected by the divorce more than the other.

Now, it is important to note that a spouse’s behavior has nothing to do with a judge’s decision. For example, the courts do not take adultery into account when determining alimony. Instead, the courts examine each person’s finances to figure out who would most be financially impacted upon separation. Judges also take the length of the marriage into account. Essentially, the longer the marriage, the more money one person will potentially have to pay to the other.

Modifications To Alimony Agreements

There are different types of alimony, including survived or merged alimony payments. These are the types of alimony that could change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is also such a thing as temporary alimony payments, in which modifications will probably not apply. However, survived or merged alimony agreements are subject to modification.

What Is Modification?

Modification means that you are requesting a change to the alimony agreements in your divorce decree through the courts. COVID-19 is the perfect example of when this could happen. If you lost your job or were furloughed because of the crisis, your payments could decrease or stop altogether. Events such as quitting your job or were asked to leave because of your behavior will typically not result in a change.

The reason why the COVID-19 pandemic could warrant a modification is that it was an unforeseen circumstance. For example, you may also be able to make changes if you acquire a disability that disallows you from working. The main point is that something sudden and unforeseen must happen for a judge to determine that modification is a viable option.

What Happens if You Stop Making Payments?

You must go through the courts if your income has changed due to the pandemic. You cannot simply stop paying your alimony if you lose your job. If you do not notify the court of the circumstances, they will have no way of knowing why you stopped making payments, and you could be found in contempt. Once found in contempt, attorney fees and other financial awards can be made by the court. As those expenses increase, the obligation to your former spouse remains present. Being honest with the court and showing due diligence is always in your best interest.

Why Time Matters

It is in your best interest to file for a modification as soon as your financial circumstances change. Many courts are reopening, and those that are not holding virtual hearings. It is important that you continue to follow the previous court orders until the modification is signed by the judge. Acting quickly is because the modification only goes back to the date it was filed. So, if you were let go in July but did not file until November, the modifications will only start in November. You will still have to make payments between August and October. This could lead to your financial ruin.

What Happens When You Return To Work?

This information may all bring about questions regarding what happens when things return to normal. Typically, you will have to make up the money that you missed while you were unemployed. However, the courts will give you time to do this so that you are not bombarded right when you get back on the employment line. Remember that you cannot simply stop making payments on your own, then go back to normal when you return to work. If you do this, you will owe everything retroactively as soon as the courts are notified.

Why Acquiring an Attorney Is Necessary

As is the case with other legal matters, you should have an attorney by your side while figuring out alimony during COVID-19. An attorney will help you with all the legalities of the process. They will assist you in filling out the appropriate paperwork, determining which kind of alimony you have, and helping you get things out in a timely manner.

LaCoste Family Law has the best spousal support attorney in Washington State. We understand how challenging it can be to have to pay alimony when you are struggling financially. For this reason, we want to be an ally for you during this challenging time. We will ensure that all of the paperwork gets filled out in a timely manner so that you do not end up owing retroactive payments. Our team will also take a look at the alimony agreement within your divorce decree to ensure that everything is fair and you are not paying a ridiculous amount of money every month.

This piece has answered the question, “Will your alimony payments change due to COVID-19?” No one could have predicted how uncertain this past year and a half has been. Everything changed, including divorce decrees. Exes now have to have discussions about vaccinations and how to keep their children safe when transferring them from one house to another. Another thing that parents will have to determine is alimony payments. Some people did not have a choice when it came to leaving their work

All that said, perhaps the most important virtue that people should have during this time is grace. Yes, it is frustrating that you may not receive the same amount of alimony that you are used to. However, try to remember that these are some of the most unprecedented times in global history. We all must be kind to each other and be grateful for what we have. Perhaps that is the silver lining to take us through the pandemic.

Will My Alimony Payments Change Due To COVID-19?