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Family Lawyers Las Cruces NM | Blog

Modification of Alimony Lawyer in NM

Posted by Sarah Van Cott Hughes | Feb 23, 2024

Alimony, also referred to as spousal maintenance or spousal support, is a series of payments made by one spouse to the other spouse during or after their divorce. Like many ongoing obligations after a divorce, spousal support payments can be modified when certain facts and circumstances exist. You must follow the proper procedures, however, to make sure modification is successful. 

Under Las Cruces law, most alimony payments can be modified. At Advanced Legal Resolutions, we will guide you through the process. We understand it is important to keep any Alimony Term order updated to reflect the realities of both parties. If you want to request a modification to a Alimony Term order, rely on us to provide the guidance and representation you need.

Common Reasons Alimony Term Payments Are Modified

A former spouse may need alimony payments modified for any number of reasons, and it could either be the recipient or the payor seeking the modification. The following are common reasons courts will often consider in order to modify court-ordered Alimony Term:

  • Changes in employment and the reasons for the changes (e.g., a demotion due to company-wide changes versus poor performance)

  • Impairment of either spouse's earning capacity (e.g., one spouse was injured and cannot perform the same job functions)

  • How long payments have been made versus how much longer until they are terminated (e.g., paid only for one year versus ten years)

  • Whether the supported party has made an effort to become self-sufficient (e.g., long-term, progressive work experience versus sporadic work)

Depending on your jurisdiction, a court can consider other factors it considers relevant. If the modification is approved, the court will confirm the payment increase or decrease in the new order granting the modification.  

Challenges to Alimony Modifications in NM

Approval of an alimony modification is not automatic – even if the person making the request has a valid reason. In fact, Alimony Term modifications can be challenged. Challenging a request to modify alimony is a legal process that requires careful consideration and adherence to the laws of your jurisdiction.

Whether you want to prepare for a challenge or need to challenge a request for modification, you should:

  • Review the original agreement. Carefully review the original divorce agreement that outlines the terms of alimony. Understanding the specific language and conditions can help you identify whether the request for modification is justified or not.

  • Collect evidence. Gather relevant evidence that supports your position. This may include financial documents, pay stubs, tax returns, and any other information that demonstrates or contests a change in circumstances, either for you or your ex-spouse.

  • Demonstrate a change in circumstances. To successfully challenge a modification, you usually need to show a significant change in circumstances since the original alimony order. This could be due to a change in income, employment status, health, or other factors that affect the ability to pay or the need for support.

  • File a Motion: Work with your attorney to file a motion with the court to challenge the request for alimony modification. The motion should outline the reasons for opposing the modification and provide supporting evidence.

  • Negotiate or mediate. Before going to court, consider alternative dispute resolution methods such as negotiation or mediation. This may help you and your ex-spouse reach a compromise without the need for a lengthy and costly court battle.

  • Attend court hearings. If an agreement cannot be reached through negotiation or mediation, be prepared to attend court hearings. Your attorney will present your case, and the court will make a decision based on the evidence and arguments presented.

  • Comply with court orders. Once a decision is reached, comply with any court orders. Failure to do so may result in legal consequences.

Remember that laws regarding alimony and spousal support can vary, and the above steps are general guidelines. Always consult with a our qualified family law attorney in NM to get advice tailored to your specific situation.

Enforcement of Modified Spousal Support in NM

The existing spousal support order remains in effect until the petition to modify is approved by the court. Failure to abide by the existing order can result in arrears. You could also be held in contempt of court, resulting in the possible issuance of a bench warrant for your arrest.

The same is true once the order granting modification is issued. The ex-spouse paying alimony must comply with the order or else risk arrears, contempt of court, and other possible civil and criminal penalties. 

Contact a Divorce Lawyer in NM for Modification of Alimony Term

It is important to make sure you follow the proper procedures and provide adequate support for your reason to modify a current spousal support order or to challenge a petition to modify one. At Advanced Legal Resolutions, our divorce lawyer will help you in this effort. So, if you need a modification to an existing alimony order or want to challenge one, contact us today by using the online form or calling us at 575-647-8802 to schedule a consultation.

About the Author

Sarah Van Cott Hughes

Bio Sarah Van Cott began practicing law in Alamogordo, NM, at a small civil practice where she managed cases including wills and trusts, personal injury, landlord tenant and contract law. In 2013, she began working as an Assistant District Attorney prosecuting criminal cases for the State of Ne...

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