Spousal support, also referred to as alimony, is a financial benefit that is often awarded in a divorce. This type of support is meant to help the spouse who earned less in the marriage maintain a good quality of life while getting back on his or her feet.

Unfortunately, spousal support can become a major burden when the party ordered to pay loses a job.

A spousal support modification request must be filed with the court when a job loss occurs. This modification request is meant to reevaluate the new financial standing of both spouses to determine the amount of support that should be provided.

Here are three factors that the court will use when considering your request for a spousal support modification.

1. The Nature of the Job Loss

The first thing the court will consider is the nature of the job loss being claimed by the petitioner. You must be prepared to provide proof that your job loss was not voluntary.

Some people will intentionally try to get fired or demoted in an effort to avoid paying spousal support. These types of intentional efforts will usually result in a denial from the court.

If your attorney is able to help you prepare evidence showing you involuntarily lost your job, you could be eligible for a spousal support modification.

2. Your Current Employment Status

Another factor the court will look at when reviewing your modification request is your current employment status.

It is common for people to lose a job, only to find another job that pays a similar wage within a relatively short period of time. A judge will also factor in your likelihood of receiving a job offer in the near future when considering your employment status.

If your prospects are good or you already have a new job, your modification request will likely be denied. Be prepared to offer evidence supporting your ongoing struggle to find stable employment.

3. Additional Sources of Income

You will be asked to provide an accounting of all sources of income that you rely on when filing a request to modify your spousal support.

If you have significant income from investments, rental properties, or an inheritance, a judge will expect you to use these resources to pay your spousal support.

If all of your money came from the job you lost, you have a better shot of having your modification request granted by the judge.

Reach out to a family law attorney for more information.