Many people feel the need to modify their alimony obligations when their small business becomes financially strained. The option to modify your alimony payments only exists if certain requirements are met.  If you are seeking to amend your alimony payments or if you are a business owner considering entering into an alimony agreement, you should carefully consider these requirements.

First, your alimony obligations must be created by a court order to be modified. Any obligations agreed to in a separation agreement require additional hurdles to be modified, and rarely are modified.  If you are considering entering into a separation agreement, consider the potential for your business to fluctuate in the future. It may be more advantageous to get a court order instead in case you need to amend the amount in the future.

The next requirement is a “substantial change in circumstances” from the original order setting the amount of alimony payments. If the court finds that there has been a substantial change in your circumstances, the order may be modified or vacated completely. You must show evidence of that substantial change. This is why it is important to make sure the judge includes detailed “findings of fact” in the original order. These detailed facts will allow you more opportunity to distinguish your current situation from that at the time of the original order.