Temporarily Modifying Alimony If Furloughed From Job

divorce lawyer Caroline ThompsonQuestion:

I am a federal employee who pays alimony and is being temporarily furloughed from my job.

My alimony calculation was based on my full salary, but my income will obviously be temporarily reduced due to furlough.

Should I ask for a temporary modification of my alimony payments as a result of an employment furlough?


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 alimony laws where I am licensed to practice.

Once an alimony award is entered, typically the courts will only modify that award based on a change in circumstances, unless, of course, the award was for non-modifiable alimony.

Unfortunately, although a reduction in income is considered a change in circumstance, the court will typically not modify the amount or duration of support if it appears that the change in circumstance is considered temporary. For example, there is case law in my state that holds that a 20-month reduction in income was only temporary therefore a reduction in alimony was not warranted.

However, if payment will become an issue for you, you should contact the enforcement unit and advise of the change in your circumstances to see if they would “stay” an enforcement proceeding against you until such time as your employment and income return to pre-furlough levels.

While arrears will still accrue on the original amount, if the enforcement department is willing to stay any enforcement proceeding, then this should mitigate any other actions against you, such as lack of payment being reported to credit agencies or incarceration for lack of payment.

However, please note this is completely within the discretion of the court so I cannot guarantee that enforcement will not be sough against you. Also, I would strongly suggest that if you are able, you continue to pay the alimony at the level awarded so you ensure that no enforcement proceedings are initiated.

Another alternative is to attempt to privately negotiate a temporary reduction in your alimony. If you and your ex-wife can come to a private agreement, a stipulation, preferably prepared by a family law attorney, can be submitted to the court encapsulating the terms of the temporary agreement.

Any stipulation modifying support must be filed with the court, otherwise, the original support or alimony order will continue to be in full force and effect and the court will not know that the terms have been modified between the parties.

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.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer Caroline J. Thompson, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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One comment on “Temporarily Modifying Alimony If Furloughed From Job

    I am currently divorced 7 years paying 2500.00 alimony for life. went back for modification last year with no luck. I am now in a suit for contempt. My Ex never paid her share of the house to me and her using marital Credit cards that were to be extinguished, also her not paying my share of a 15,000 dollar 401 K check she cashed that was in my name, all these listed in the divorce decree. I currently have a lawyer but since the modification I have been thinking maybe I need to consider another one. In the divorce I paid my ex an extra 1000.00 dollars rehabilitative alimony monthly for 2 years for her to better her employment. Which she never did. When brought up at the modification the judge said she wasn’t holding my ex contemptible for not bettering her employment. My ex has a college degree in teaching. What was the purpose of my paying this extra if not for her to better her employment and get on her feet. I felt I should have been reimbursed for this. I have read horror stories like mine in Florida and New Jersey and Conn. I don’t want to waste my money if nothing is going to come of this. When I Filed contempt the judge listened and sent everyone back to work an agreement out. I don’t understand why we have to come to another agreement and pay lawyers and mediators to argue over something that was already ruled and decreed. I felt the judge should have ruled on the contempt. My ex admitted to using the cards and not paying me for the house. The only thing she disagreed on was owing for the check which she has no proof of paying so is pretty simple too. The whole thing is pretty simple. She didn’t want to work when we was married and I let her stay home and enjoy this privilege which was one of the main things held against me in the divorce. Saying she put her career on hold which was far from the truth. I am going to be 62 in a year and a half and cannot retire after working all my life because I am obligated to pay someone that I am not even married to that mistreated me all the years we were together 2500.00 a month. She could retire this year and save me some alimony but that will never happen because of the amount she was awarded in alimony. This alimony for life is a death sentence. When were divorced I moved into a 600 dollar a month efficiency apt. Temporarily, I thought but instead they based my living expenses on that, and she lives in the 220,000 marital home. She is the only one allowed to live in the lifestyle we were accustomed to. I Found that out at my modification when I told the judge I bought a 179,000 home and my living expenses were more. She said I caused all that. Well, whats wrong with this picture. I am the one working. The marital home will soon be paid for and she can buy another one because they don’t take into consideration whats shes got. During discovery we asked for her bank records. She never produced them. Just her figures on paper. She listed them on the original documents but never produced them for hearing. Nor did she produce 2011 tax returns . Just her figures on paper. No one said anything about it. I feel shes hiding lots of money. She is running a daycare in her house. Wrote on paper her figures for 2011 that she has as much in expenses as she makes. Why would she have a daycare if she wasn’t making money. Her college degree is in teaching . She should be using it to teach in school not a daycare. Any ways sorry to ramble on. I wanted you to get a insight. My question is have you taken in any of these cases or seen any good outcomes from them, or am I wasting my time? Have you heard much on the Alimony Reform coming to West Virginia? It is a much needed thing. Do you think I should get a new attorney for this contempt hearing? Or is this Alimony sentence for life going to haunt me till I die.

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