Family Law

You Aren’t a Bad Guy for Needing to Adjust Your Alimony

I’ve been there. Lots of people have. You have an alimony agreement that seems fair and reasonable for all parties, but then life happens. You lose your job. You have a kid. You have to support an ailing parent. You have to downsize because of illness. You’re approaching retirement.

There’s plenty of things that can happen. That’s fine, that’s normal. Except, where does that leave you with those alimony payments? There’s a certain shame people feel when they need to adjust their alimony. Some of them assume it isn’t even possible. That no matter their own circumstances, they have to keep paying the same amount or else risk serious repercussions.

To begin with, let’s get rid of that idea. You can modify your alimony. The Maynard Law Firm points out that you can modify the payments you’re making if you are struggling to make them financially. So, there’s a legal way to reduce your financial burden when difficulties arise.

That leaves the shame. People often feel bad that they’re struggling to make those payments. Alimony may make you feel generous, reasonable, like the good guy in a bad divorce. Having to speak out about financial difficulties that make it hard or impossible to meet those payments is embarrassing. You can feel like you’re failing as a provider, even when the person you are providing for is no longer your spouse.

We need to work on reducing this sense of shame or embarrassment. Everyone has financial ups and downs. Everyone has new obligations and new difficulties. It’s better to be upfront about these issues instead of hiding them and trying to get by. That is not just financially dangerous, but it leads to a sense of resentment that can only make matters worse once you reach a tipping point with those alimony payments.

It’s far better to meet the change up front, as soon as it happens, and to pursue a change in the alimony agreement.

With the help of a lawyer, this can be a fairly painless and embarrassment-free event, allowing you to stay afloat and avoid any damage to your personal financial security.

It’s great that you’ve helped a former spouse get on their feet and take care of themselves. It’s an important part of the law, and you deserve to be commended for keeping it up, even in the face of your own difficulties. But you don’t have to suffer or feel shame when circumstances change. Embrace the change, embrace the required alimony adjustment, and take care of yourself and the other demands upon you. It won’t do anyone any good for you to run out of income so you aren’t supporting and helping anyone.

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