Spousal support payments are not necessarily set in stone in Ohio, but neither may the former spouse making the payments just decide to stop unilaterally. There is a legal process in which spousal support, also known as alimony, can be modified. Exes can ask the court to adjust the amount being paid, or other important terms of the original order.
State law allows a judge to modify spousal support when he or she determines that the circumstances of one of the parties have changed to the point that the current alimony payments are no longer “reasonable and appropriate.” What is a “change in circumstance?” The statute explicitly refers to an increase or decrease in one of the party’s following:
- Wages or salary
- Living expenses
- Medical expenses
Other changes in circumstances can also convince the court to modify the order, but only if the change a) is substantial and makes the current order unreasonable and inappropriate; and b) the change was not “taken into account” when the court ordered the original alimony, or made the most recent modification, if there was one.
As time passes, the paying ex-spouse may experience unemployment, or the payee spouse may find that he or she needs more money than before for household expenses. The law gives people in positions like these the chance to amend the alimony order, so that it better reflects the parties’ current financial situations.
However, doing so without the help of a family law attorney can lead to serious errors, and could cost you a rightful adjustment.