Albuquerque Spousal Support Modification Attorney

As you and your former partner’s life circumstances change, it may be necessary to change your spousal support agreement. In New Mexico, either the party who receives alimony or the one who pays it may petition the court for a modification. Whether a request for changes is approved depends on a variety of factors.

At Matteucci Family Law, Attorney Bob Matteucci helps New Mexico residents who need to modify their existing spousal support order find a path forward. Whether an increase or a decrease is desired, he strives to facilitate an agreement between the parties so all the judge has to do is rubber-stamp it. 

If a disagreement over alimony payments arises, Attorney Matteucci always attempts to resolve it amicably, without involving the courts. But he can and does litigate these cases when it is clear the needs of his client will not be met unless aggressive action is taken. 

Whether you and your former partner agree that your spousal support order needs to be updated, or you are butting heads over your current payments, Attorney Bob Matteucci is here for you. 

Can Your Spousal Support Order Undego Modification?

If you or your former partner want to change your existing spousal support agreement, the first thing Attorney Bob Matteucci will do is take a look at your existing agreement. The document, which is typically part of the Marital Settlement Agreement approved by the court at the time of your divorce, will say whether a change to the terms is allowed. 

Most agreements can be modified under certain circumstances, but some cannot. For example, if you and your former partner agreed to do a one time, lump sum payment, the agreement will usually limit any future requests for additional funds. 

Under What Circumstances Can A New Mexico Agreement Be Modified?

If your spousal support order or agreement allows for future changes, the party requesting the change has to prove a change is necessary. Under New Mexico law, a spousal support order may only be modified by the court if you or your former partner is dealing with a material and substantial change in circumstances.

Here are a few examples of situations where Attorney Bob Matteucci has successfully persuaded a court that a spousal support modification is appropriate: 

A change in the paying party’s income. When a divorce is being finalized and spousal support is being calculated, the paying spouse’s ability to pay is taken into consideration. If a job loss, reduced hours, disability, or other factors cause the payer’s income to drop, he or she can request a reduction in payments. 

It is important to note that someone who pays support cannot voluntarily quit their job, work fewer hours, or work for less pay than they can actually earn, and use that as a basis for a support modification. A job loss or reduction in hours must be in good faith, and courts will expect there to be evidence that the person asking for a reduction in payments has actually tried to earn more.

A change in the receiving party’s needs. If a person who receives alimony can show the court that he or she cannot make ends meet under the current agreement, a court may agree to increase his or her spousal support payments. 

Generally, the courts expect ex-spouses to be able to support themselves, so they will look at a request for more alimony with skepticism. For a request for additional payments to be successful, the person requesting more money must show they are working toward self-sufficiency, or that they cannot attain that goal based on their life circumstances. Age, disability, and education often play a role in these cases. 

Retirement. When the person who makes spousal support payments retires, he or she may ask for a reduction in payments. As with a request based on job loss or a drop in income, the court will seriously evaluate the motivation behind the paying party’s request. An early retirement, or sudden decision to retire, will be met with skepticism. A retirement based on age or disability is viewed more favorably. 

Remarriage. If the receiving party gets married again, alimony will usually terminate automatically. However, the paying party may be required to file paperwork to formally end his or her obligation. Be sure to talk with your attorney before you stop making payments, even if you believe the remarriage automatically ends your responsibility to pay spousal support.

Cohabitation. When a receiving party begins living with a romantic partner, it may jeopardize their ability to continue receiving alimony. Or, the receiving party may need less to live on. That’s because, in theory, the person they live with will provide some financial support. If you suspect the receiving party is living with someone else, speak with your attorney about whether cohabitation may terminate or reduce your obligation. 

Death. If the paying or receiving party dies, the obligation to pay alimony might automatically terminate. But this isn’t always the case. The paying party may be required to carry life insurance so the alimony can continue being paid after death. 

Expiration. The judge in your case might have required, or you might have agreed, that your spousal support payments would last for a set period of time. The paying spouse should consult with an attorney to confirm their obligation to pay is ending before stopping payments. The receiving spouse may be able to petition the court for additional payments depending on the terms of the agreement. 

These are just a few of the reasons Attorney Matteucci has seen New Mexico courts modify an existing spousal support order. But they are not the only reasons a modification can be requested. You and your former partner’s unique lifestyles, financial circumstances, and living situations should dictate your ongoing spousal support arrangement. If you think a change to your spousal support order is needed, Bob Matteucci is ready to listen to your concerns and advise you of all your options. 

How Do I Get My Spousal Support Agreement Changed?

New Mexico courts are often reluctant to add spousal support cases to their docket because they can get messy. If the split was not amicable, or one party remains bitter about the amount of support they pay or receive, a simple request for a modification can quickly devolve into a shouting match. 

Fortunately, such cases are the exception, not the rule. If you are like most people, you understand that you and your former partner’s lives will change over time. When significant changes to your or your former partner’s employment, income, relationship status, or health mean your current spousal support agreement no longer works well for one of both of you, it is perfectly reasonable to ask for a modification if allowed under the divorce agreement. 

Whether you are the party who pays or receives alimony, Attorney Bob Matteucci will listen to your concerns, review your existing agreement, and let you know what options are available to you. Whether an increase or a decrease is desired, he strives to facilitate an agreement between you and your former partner that the courts will be okay with. When an agreement is reached, he can draft it, pull together the evidence to support it, and file it with the court on your behalf. 

In the rare cases where an amicable agreement cannot be reached, but a change in support is necessary, Attorney Matteucci is prepared to litigate. 

Contact bob Matteucci, A Successful New Mexico Spousal Support Modification Lawyer

Matteucci Family Law helps people across the state of New Mexico modify their spousal support agreements. Attorney Matteucci is an experienced family law attorney who helps both paying and receiving parties modify spousal support when life changes require it. 

Whether you live in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Los Lunas, Rio Rancho, or somewhere else in New Mexico, contact Bob Matteucci today to schedule a confidential consultation regarding your spousal support modification.