I pay alimony to my ex-wife who recently has moved out of the country and now lives in a country where she can collect unemployment and free medical insurance from the government.
Can I modify my alimony payments if my ex has moved to a country that provides her with more benefits and support?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
In general, you must have a significant change in circumstances to warrant a modification of support or alimony. Typically, the other spouse’s access to public assistance or benefits would not qualify; however, I am not familiar with the nature of other country’s benefits.
Despite a spouse’s relocation to another country, your state’s divorce laws should control. If your state permits a modification based on a significant change of circumstances, then you need to discuss with a divorce lawyer if your change qualifies.
For example, perhaps your agreement calls for a certain amount of alimony and it specifically addresses wife’s need for the amount for private healthcare costs. Then the fact that she can receive free healthcare may qualify. That said, most agreements do not specify this and this would be rare.
Often, where I practice, a significant change in circumstances is the change in employment status of the receiving party. Meaning, the spouse receiving support suddenly becomes employed making a substantial income and can support herself . It could be the remarriage or cohabitation with another party as well that would terminate support.
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You should look to your agreement or court order as it will contain more details about the terms of your agreement. There may be a clause in there that will help you as set forth in my example above.
Depending on the nature of her new country’s benefits, you may have a change in circumstances in that she lived in America when the order or agreement was entered and it was entered on the premise that she would be in the states and not have certain benefits available to her.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.