In pretty much every way, Hawaii is a lot different from the other states in the Union. This difference includes alimony awards. Spousal support is available in the Rainbow State.
Spousal support payments are in a unique category. They are not quite child support, and they are not quite part of the property division. So, the amount and duration awards are subjective and can be modified later.
Generally, Hawaii County judges do not order alimony payments very often. That could be because Kamuela divorce lawyers do not ask for it, or because they do not ask the right way. Nevertheless, these payments are not easy to set up, and they are not easy to modify either. Generally, successful modifications hinge on one of the three below changes.
Generally, alimony awards serve one of two functions. They either equalize the standard of living between the former spouses, or they give obligees (people receiving alimony payments) funds they need to reach specific goals.
For example, an oblige might need to finish a university degree in order to become economically self-sufficient. If the obligor (person paying alimony) has the financial ability to pay, a judge will often order spousal support, especially if the obligor was also the filing party.
These needs usually change over time. Some of these changes are predictable. Tuition goes up almost every year. Sometimes, change is unpredictable. Perhaps the school changes degree requirements or suddenly doubles tuition.
If there is an unpredictable need-based change, Hawaii County judges at least consider increasing support payments, assuming a Kamuela divorce lawyer laid the groundwork. This groundwork includes integrating language into the degree stating the obligee’s economic need and the purpose for alimony payments.
On the other side, Kamuela divorce lawyers can also oppose need-based increases. Perhaps the obligee has not received good grades in school, perhaps the need-based increase was predictable, or perhaps the obligor cannot afford to pay more.
Kamuela Divorce Lawyers and Ability-Based Decreases
This second category is probably the most common alimony adjustment basis. Income often goes down, and these changes are often unanticipated. Sometimes, they are also indirect. For example, in January 2019, the IRS ended the alimony payment tax deduction. Since these payments were no longer tax-deductible, some obligors argued that they could not afford to pay as much.
This tax law change brings up an important point. The income reduction must be involuntary, at least for the most part. Obligors cannot quit high-paying jobs to decrease their alimony obligations. Kamuela divorce lawyers see these moves rather frequently. Many obligors see alimony as a financial penalty, and they will do almost anything to reduce their obligations.
On a related note, retirement does not automatically end or even reduce, alimony payments. People get older and retire. So, this change is not unanticipated. If the obligor retired early, Kamuela divorce lawyers have an even better argument that the obligor stopped working to reduce the alimony obligation.
If either a reduction or increase is appropriate, Hawaii County judges usually recalculate the amount based on the factors in Hawaii law.
Under Hawaii law, the obligee’s remarriage usually terminates the obligor’s spousal support obligation. This principle is an exception to the unanticipated changes rule that applies in the previous two situations.
People are either married or they are not. That’s easy to determine. But what if the oblige has a long-term paramour? Can a Kamuela divorce lawyer reduce alimony payment in these situations?
Generally, Hawaii County judges look closely at the nature of the relationship. Some factors include the length of the relationship, any joint purchases the couple made, shared checking accounts or other financial pools, and non-familial gifts (e.g. the obligee’s Paramore give money to the obligee’s children).
Call Our Experienced Kamuela Divorce Attorney for Alimony Agreements
Alimony payments are not set in stone. Spousal support payments are subject to change depending on the changing circumstances of the obligee and the obligor. A Kamuela lawyer can help obligors reduce the payment amount. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Kamuela divorce lawyer, contact Olson & Sons, L.C at (808) 885-8533. After-hours visits are available.