Many Americans have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Setbacks like job loss or pay cuts can be even more significant for individuals who pay alimony to a former spouse or rely on their ex for monthly support. In these instances, a modification to the existing alimony arrangement may be needed. Here's what New York residents should know about alimony modification and how an attorney can help.

When Can You Modify an Alimony Agreement?

According to New York law, alimony payments can be modified only if there's a substantial change in circumstances. Applicable reasons for the paying spouse requesting a modification include job loss, a pay cut, or a sudden illness that interferes with earning capacity.


Further, there must be at least a 15% change in income. So, the paying spouse could request an alimony modification if they're earning 15% less than before. 

Alternatively, they could request an alimony modification if the receiving spouse is earning 15% more than before. The law requires that at least three years have gone by since the alimony agreement was entered into or modified. 

How Can You Discuss Alimony Modification With Your Former Spouse?

If you and your ex are in good standing, be honest about your change in circumstances. If you can come to an agreement for a change in financial support, at least on a short-term basis, you can spare yourself the cost and stress of a court battle. A lawyer can help you draft your agreement in the relevant legal documentation.

If you and your ex are on bad terms or can't come to an agreement, you may need attorneys to mediate or take the issue to family court. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many legal proceedings are online. The state's courts can schedule appearances via phone or video and accept electronic filings.


If you need the support of a lawyer for your alimony modification, turn to Cheryl A. Beverson, Attorney At Law. Located in Middletown, NY, she serves the entire Hudson Valley region. Attorney Beverson has more than 20 years of experience and will advise you on alimony modifications to limit your financial burdens during this time. Learn more about her practice areas online, or call (845) 341-0008 to request a consultation.