If I lose my job, how am I going to keep up with alimony payments?
Jeff Hughes J.D. | March 28, 2014
– from Joseph U. in Hartford, WI
My work is seasonal. If I lose my job, how am I going to keep up with alimony payments?
Family Law Attorney Response:
Spousal support payments, sometimes called maintenance or alimony, are generally agreed upon in advance and included in a divorce decree. A thoughtful divorce attorney will also include contingencies in the case of job or income changes.
We would have to look at your divorce papers to know the specifics, but in general, Wisconsin law allows modifications in spousal support payments in cases of a substantial change in circumstances — for example, the loss of the paying spouse's job or a decline in income-making potential.
It's important to note, however, that your overall obligation generally won't change. Let's say, for example, that you were ordered to make monthly payments of $500 over the course of five years. A judge may defer your payments during a period of unemployment, but you would be required to make up the difference when you regain work.
In other words, you may be granted a deferment, but not forbearance.