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FamilyAnswer, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27615
Experience:  10 + years of handling Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Child Support cases
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My husband (79) has been paying alimony years to ex-spouse

Customer Question

My husband (79) has been paying alimony for 46 years to ex-spouse (15 year marriage) He and I are both retired, and living on SS and withdrawals from IRA. At current rate of withdrawal we only have about 2 - 3 years of $$$ left. Our lifestyle(expenses) is much less than when we had 2 six-figure incomes. (Ex-wife is 81, retired on SS & pension.) Both have had serious health problems. We want to file for termination of alimony. What is the likelihood of it being granted? Will my expenses (prescription co-pays, hair cuts, etc.) count as "household" expenses, or left out of consideration as to his financial situation? Apologies for such a long question, but perhaps is needed for you to answer.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 2 years ago.
Good afternoon. Thank you for requesting me. Would you mind sharing with me the State you reside in?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We are in NC. Husband's divorce was in Maryland
Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 2 years ago.
And his Ex still lives in Maryland?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No. In Pennsylvania. Marriage was also in Maryland.
Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. It may be possible for the alimony to be modified. For that to happen, it would need to be shown that there is a change in circumstances of a substantial and continuing nature whereupon the previous court order may be modified, suspended, terminated or reinstituted or a new order made. Based upon what you shared above, if the original amount which he was ordered to pay was based upon X income and as a result of him retiring and having less income now, then the court may modify or terminate the alimony, if he can no longer afford to pay it and meet his basic needs. You would not have any obligation to pay her the alimony, so the court is likely going to consider his income and make sure that the decrease of it, is not a result of wanting to avoid paying and it is in good faith.
Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 2 years ago.
I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
This I was already aware of. My question was really about the expenses of current wife (me) (also retired) being included in Financial Statement and if so --does it need to be only easily separated (like prescription drugs, clothing etc.) How does one separate utilities, food, dining, etc.? Also, our IRA is only withdrawal on principal, (Market crash cut it in half, and my income stopped upon my retirement) and is only sufficient to last another two or so years. We do hope to live longer, but will not have funds to do so.Only SS income.
Thanks for answer to my original question.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My income supported us for 5 more years after his retirement, thus preserving his IRA. I don't know if all that is pertinent , but included it just incase it is.
Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 2 years ago.
He is going to need to present evidence to show that he can not longer afford to make the payments to his ex and will need to show the financials, to support that argument as well. It will come up that you are married and that there is joint income, even though the responsibility to pay, does not fall on you. Your basic needs, need to be met, so housing, food, electric , water are all things which will be considered by the Judge, when deciding if support should cease or be reduced. Medical bills and other things like that would be included but going out to eat, hair cuts, new clothes, may not carry that much weight when showing what the cost of living is, for the both of you. The key thing for him to argue is that he was ordered to pay X when he had Y income and Y income is not longer there and if he continues to have to pay that, he will have no funds to live off of or use to support himself.

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