Copyright © Gary R. Spritz, Esquire, Delaware Divorce and Family Law. All rights reserved.
Delaware Alimony can be modified if it is contractual or purely by court order. However, it is more difficult to modify alimony created by contract unless the contract creating alimony says that alimony is modifiable and then it is modifiable pursuant to the contractual term. Alimony created purely by Delaware Family Court Order is modifiable upon a real and substantial change of circumstances. 13 Del. C. Sec. 1519(a)(4). For example, I have succesfully argued that a contract that said the parties may renegotiate alimony in 6 months did not mean that alimony was modifiable.
A small change such as a cost of living increase is not typically enough to modify alimony. A job loss or some promotions may be depending on how much income is effected. However, the change has to be "real". What that means for example is the Alimony payor cannot simply quit a job and say that justifies his reduction in alimony. Also a nonvoluntary increase or decrease in expenses can lead to a Delaware alimony modification.
Alimony is not permanent. Alimony usually ends when the receiving party remarries or cohabits with a significant other or in the event of a marriage less than 20 year, upon the expiration of a period of 1/2 the length of the marriage from the start of alimony. Alimony. even contractual alimony which lacks language indicting the alimony is modifiable, ends when the recipient remarries or cohabits. Now cohabitationin Delaware is much more than dating or even staying over somebodies house once in a while. While the amount of time together depends on a different circumstances, it is more than a few times a month staying over.
What should you do in preparing yourself for a modification of alimony. First, what is your income now? What was it when alimony was entered. What are your expenses now. What were your expenses at the time the alimony was entered. What is your ex's income now? What was your ex's income when the order was entered. What were your ex's expenses now and what were they when the alimony was ordered. These are the important issues for a court,
Now alimony is tough stuff and I always advise getting a lawyer for it. I am available for appointments if you call me at (302) 655-0900 or email me at email@example.com or use the form below.