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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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I owe ""maintenance in gross" of 60k to my ex in Illinois.

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I owe ""maintenance in gross" of 60k to my ex in Illinois. I am currently paying it at a rate of 1,000 a month. I was on military orders during the time of my divorce where I make twice as much money than my civilian position. I am trying to reduce my payment amount of 1,000 a month but not reduce the maintenance in gross amount of 60k since my pay has been reduced by half. Is this possible or does the maintenance in gross make both the amount and payment amount non modifiable? What happens if I cant pay it? Will I be held in contempt? There must be some case law to support my case?

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

A maintenance in gross award unfortunately cannot be modified where the circumstances of the parties change. If support is not paid, the other spouse can bring a Motion for Contempt, asking the judge to find that you willfully violated the court order. A judge will look at your total financial picture to determine whether you actually have the ability to pay. He'll look at both your income and necessary expenses. If you just don't make enough to pay, you're not in contempt of court.

All of the case law I'm finding consistently has stated that alimony in gross cannot be modified absent an agreement by the parties. If your former spouse will accept lower monthly payments, with the understanding that the total amount does not change, then she couldn't bring a contempt petition against you. Also, read the divorce agreement very carefully to see if there is anything in there that would arguably allow you to modify the monthly payment. If the divorce decree allows it, then you could do it.

I realize that you may be disappointed by this Answer, as it is not entirely favorable to your situation. However, it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand.

Good luck.
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