Modifying Alimony If Ex Receives Disability Benefits

divorce lawyer Alex DurstQuestion:

A few months after our divorce was final and I was ordered to pay alimony, my ex-wife began receiving Social Security Disability.

How will this effect the spousal support I pay her? Can it increase or decrease based on her receiving payments that were not figured in the divorce?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Ohio alimony laws where I am licensed to practice.

Where I practice, in order to convince a court to increase, decrease, or extend an order of spousal support after a divorce has been finalized, the person who is requesting the increase, decrease, or extension must show that there has been a change in circumstances which was not contemplated at the time of the divorce.

Therefore, in the situation where the spouse who is receiving spousal support starts receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) shortly after the divorce, the questions will generally be:

1.) Was this change (SSD being awarded) foreseeable at the time of divorce?

2.) If so (and only if so), how has the financial situation of the spouse who is now receiving SSD changed? Has their income increased or decreased?

Therefore, more information is necessary in order to determine how this standard relates to your situation. First of all, it is necessary to know why your ex-wife is now receiving SSD.

If she was perfectly healthy and able at the time of the divorce but subsequently got into a serious car accident and is now seriously disabled as a result, then that would be a more compelling reason for a judge to consider a change in spousal support than, say, if she had simply been unemployed for years and her application for SSD was only just now approved.

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Similarly, assuming that we can get past the first question (meaning that if a judge is willing to consider whether a change is appropriate) more information is needed to apply the standard to this situation.

It depends on how your ex wife’s financial outlook has changed; was she earning zero before but now she receives $900 per month, or was she earning $50,000 a year before an accident suddenly stopped her from being able to work at all, so that she is now only receiving monthly SSD payments and therefore has less income than she had prior to being awarded SSD?

Since only a few months have gone by, it would seem that it would be difficult for either spouse to show that there was a change in circumstances that was not contemplated at the time of divorce.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Ohio Divorce Lawyer Alexander J. Durst, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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2 comments on “Modifying Alimony If Ex Receives Disability Benefits

    My ex is paying spousal support to me and says he is waiting on disability and when gets it my payment will stop what can I do?

    Does anyone know if my soon to be ex who is ten years older than me and is currently getting one half of my disability benefits of 1200 a month can she garnish my half. I paid her temp alimony and I paid it every month for over a year till I lost my sight causing me mental issues. She lives with her mother and I pay rent insurance etc. she gets Medicare what are my options

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