Modification of Alimony in NCmodification of alimony

North Carolina law N.G.C.S § 50-16.9 states that an order for alimony may be modified at any time by a party. The motion to modify alimony can only be made upon a showing of changed circumstances by either party or any interested parties.

The General Rule

A modification of an alimony award requires a substantial change in circumstances which has occurred since the last order. The change of circumstances must be so substantial that a judge would be able to determine that original award amount is unjust and unconscionable.

How Does Someone Prove a Substantial Change in Circumstances?

Certain events which have transpired from the time that the last alimony award was entered can demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances. For example, if the paying spouse can show evidence that the receiving spouse has found new employment with increased income, that they remarried, or that they are cohabiting with another individual, this evidences a substantial change in circumstances which may reduce or terminate their obligation to pay alimony.

On the flip side, if a receiving spouse desires an increase in their existing support, they can demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances by showing loss of their employment, disability or illness, or evidence that the paying spouse has experienced a significant increase in their income.

How Does Retirement Factor into a Modification of Alimony Determination?

If a paying spouse retires and it was anticipated or reasonably foreseeable, this is generally considered to be a substantial change of circumstances. The court will look to several factors to decide if the paying spouse is still required to pay alimony after they retire. These factors include:

  • The age and health of the paying spouse;
  • Their motivation to enter into retirement;
  • The type of work the paying spouse performed; and
  • The typical retirement age for the paying spouse’s profession.

If after looking to these factors, a court decides that the paying spouse’s retirement was not reasonably foreseeable, the court may consider that the retirement is not a substantial change of circumstances.

Consider setting up a consultation with a family law lawyer at Gilles Law, PLLC. You can reach us at 980-272-8438 at our office in Uptown Charlotte. We are here to assist with your inquiries.

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