By David L. Duff of Duff & Kronfeld, P.C. posted in Family Law on Friday, January 27, 2017.
If the two parties are able to reach an agreement with respect to the amount of spousal support one will pay to the other, then they are also allowed to agree between themselves on whether such amount of spousal support will be forever “locked in cement,” i.e., non-modifiable; or, in the alternative, whether the amount will be subject to change in the future. If you are the spouse receiving the support, then it may be of benefit to have the amount of spousal support characterized as “non-modifiable,” so that it will never change; and, you are more easily able to budget your monthly income. The down-side, of course, is that your spousal support figure will never increase either, even if your former-spouse’s income should skyrocket.
If, however, you happen to be the paying spouse, then you may very well want to keep the amount of support modifiable, so as to avoid the situation where you lose your job; get seriously ill or injured; or, sustain some other unexpected decrease in your income. If you have agreed to spousal support that is “non-modifiable,” then you will be obligated to pay the agreed-upon amount, regardless of any decline in your income, for whatever reason. This frightening possibility, however, must be weighed against the up-side of never having to share any bonuses, or other increases in income with your former spouse.
The spouse who wishes to increase, or lower, the amount of spousal support being paid, or received, will have the burden of showing that there has been a “material change” in the parties’ respective financial circumstances from what existed at the time that the support figure was last set. Such a “material change” in circumstances could involve a significant increase, or decrease, in one party’s income; or a significant increase, or decrease, in one party’s debts; or any combination of the same.
If you believe that an adjustment should be made to the amount of spousal support that you are receiving, or paying, call one of the attorneys at Duff Kronfeld & Marquardt P.C. for a complimentary 30-minute analysis of your situation (703) 591-7475.