An unexpected loss of income may result in a setback that requires a change in a court-ordered financial support arrangement. Because the payment schedule typically reflects a formerly married couple’s circumstances at the time of their divorce, a sudden material change may justify a modification.
As reported by CNBC, if an individual no longer works and begins receiving unemployment compensation, the court may consider it as income when determining whether to adjust an order. Financial accounts and other assets may also face a review before a judge approves a modification to increase or decrease the support amount.
Communication between two ex-spouses may provide a solution
In some cases, two former spouses may decide to amicably discuss a support modification with each other instead of going to court. If an individual expects a temporary layoff, for example, he or she may arrange a short-term financial plan with an ex-spouse.
Their agreement, however, may require a signed and written statement showing both individuals approved of the adjusted amount. If an individual fails to send payments by the mutually agreed-upon date, an ex-spouse may consider it a breach of the agreement that requires legal action.
A permanent or substantial adjustment may require a court order
If a change of income lasts longer than expected, an individual may petition the court to permanently adjust a support order. According to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, a modification requires submitting tax returns and four recent pay stubs. Self-employed individuals or business owners may submit their last three business or corporate returns.
With payments made under a temporary agreement between two ex-spouses, the court may still require an individual to catch up on any missed amounts. To prevent disputes, divorced individuals may legally modify a support order when they experience material changes to their income after the original divorce decree.