One of the most common things spouses worry about during a divorce is alimony. Alimony payments are money that one ex-spouse pays to another, usually monthly, for a period of time either agreed upon by both spouses or set by an Oklahoma judge. Judges don’t always award permanent alimony, but they consider it among spouses who have been married for decades. Someone unable to work might get permanent alimony from their ex-spouse.
Whatever is decided concerning alimony will be included in the final divorce decree. The decree includes terms of property division, child support, child custody, alimony, and other important matters. These terms are not arrived at without much thought, so courts will only modify them with an excellent reason. In Oklahoma, judges usually require a significant change in circumstances to modify an alimony order. It should be noted that alimony orders are always terminated when either spouse dies or when the ex-spouse receiving alimony remarries. As Your Fierce Advocates®, we are ready to assist you with post-decree modifications. Call us at (405) 300-1902 to schedule your consultation, or you can do it through our website.
What Constitutes as Cohabitation?
Oklahoma law recognizes that an alimony payer has a right to request a modification if the payee begins cohabitating with a member of the opposite sex. This includes situations that do not qualify the payee and their new partner for an Oklahoma common-law marriage.
Simply cohabitating with a member of the opposite sex does not automatically end alimony payments for the payee. Judges who receive the request for modification must consider the totality of the payee’s new economic circumstances. The payer must show that the payee’s need for alimony has significantly changed due to cohabitation.
What Is a Significant Change in Circumstances?
In and of itself, cohabitation with a member of the opposite sex is often considered a significant or substantial change in circumstances. However, cohabitation is not the only change in circumstances that may convince a judge to modify an alimony order.
A significant hit in the payer’s ability to gather income is a common way that a judge will agree to a modification. This can happen when the payer becomes disabled or suffers an injury that permanently alters their money-making abilities. Other times, the payer might start earning much more money than before, prompting the payee to request a greater amount of alimony.
Regardless of the change in circumstances, it must be permanent, material, and substantial. The current inflation rate, for example, has made it difficult for many people to make ends meet. However, you will be extremely hard-pressed to find a judge who will grant a modification of alimony due solely to the present economic conditions.
Contact an Experienced Attorney for a Post-Decree Modification
Like many aspects of family law, post-decree modifications are uniquely complex. Judges rely on mountains of clear and convincing evidence to make such modifications, which can be extremely challenging to gather without the help of an Oklahoma family law firm like Cannon & Associates. Whatever family law matter you’re dealing with, our team would be honored to represent you and help make your future brighter. CALL US NOW at 405-591-3935 for your free case evaluation. We are Your Fierce Advocates®, and remember that you can get free and useful information by subscribing to our YouTube channel.