Thursday, September 5, 2013

If situations change after you are divorced, what do you do?

By Jessica M. Cotter, Esq.

Spousal Maintenance

If you are ordered to pay Spousal Maintenance and it is either ordered by the Court or by agreement that the Spousal Maintenance may be modified when you have a life changing circumstance that is beyond your control.  Example would be that your company closes, you are laid off or your position is eliminated. Another would be the company restructures and this causes you to lose your job or your pay is decreased or you retire. If you were to lose your job and can not find a job making the same amount of money as you were when the order was entered then you can file with the court to modify or terminate your Spousal Maintenance.

When doing this, you need to make sure that you are in compliance with Rule 91(b) of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure. The rule requires that you file and serve the following documents on the other person that is receiving spousal maintenance.

1. A Petition to Modify Spousal Maintenance that states what the changes are and how drastic the changes are and that they will not improve.

2. An Affidavit of Financial Information.

3. A copy of the order to appear
a. You have to file number 1 and 2 and put them in the Judges box along with a blank order to appear
b. The Court will then fill in the order to appear to call you to pick it up.
c. Once you receive the filled out order to appear then you can serve the documents.

4. A blank Affidavit of service.

This is just to get the process started. Then there will be a Court hearing where you can present evidence to prove to the Court the changed circumstances since you were divorced and ask the Court to modify or terminate the award.  Then the Court will make its decision. There is no guarantee that the Spousal Maintenance will be lowered or terminated.

This is not a simple process and I would recommend that you consult with an experience Family Law Attorney in your area.

Keep an eye out for next week’s blog which will discuss how to change Child Support.

The Law Firm of Jessica M. Cotter, P.L.L.C.
18301 North 79th avenue
Suite F-186
Glendale, Arizona 85308

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