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Dire straits may lead to alterations in alimony payments

When a divorce occurs between an Ohio couple that sees one individual supporting the other, an individual's income can end up subsidizing the lifestyle of the lower-paid spouse. This spousal support can last a lifetime in some cases, but what happens when an ex-spouse is no longer able to afford the alimony agreement?

Some people have had assets seized, while others have fled the state to avoid law enforcement. But this may not need to be the case. If an individual can no longer afford to pay alimony because of a situation that is out of their hands, such as getting laid off, a judge may be able to provide relief.

First, knowing what the original alimony agreement says is important. If there is a clause stating something to the effect of "no future alterations," the individual may be stuck with their current situation. But if one can petition the court and explain their situation, they may be able to put a hold on the alimony they owe. In some cases, if the recipient of alimony has found a stable job or a new spouse, alimony payments may not only be temporarily relieved, but they also may be reduced and ultimately stopped.

With the sluggish economic recovery and unemployment remaining high, this has likely happened to many individuals in Ohio and elsewhere. Though not communicating with the courts and choosing not to pay alimony may seem like a viable option, making a judge aware of one's financial situation and seeking the help of an experienced Ohio attorney is a much smarter move. It could even lead to a smaller alimony payment, depending on how well off a former spouse has become since the agreement was determined.

Source:, "Can't Pay Your Alimony? Don't Panic," Truman Lewis, Sept. 21, 2011

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