Question #194:Hi…I think this is a fantastic site. Hopefully you can help me out with a question. I was seperated from my husband in early 2003. We went back and forth with the support and finally he gave in enough where I signed the papers. The divorce was finialized in Sept 2006. While we were going through the agreement (2003 – 2006), my ex-husband’s company downsized and subsequantly he found a new job with less money (went from 180K – 110K). The alimony, child support and misc money which we agreed upon was based on his old salary; however when the papers were signed and went before the job, he was at his new salary. I just got a job making $42K / year. This is my first job after 12 years of not working. My ex pays me $3000/month for alimony and $2500/month for child support. In addition he pays for my daughter’s dance (4K/year) and my two son’s baseball and basketball (500/year). My fear is that now that I have a new job, he will try to claim “poverty” and have my alimony reduced. Is this possible? Can I be taken back to court and how soon? Will I be given enough time in my current job (starts Feb 12th) to make sure I am comfortable and that I will stay in this field before he drags me back to court? When I told him I would need help with babysitting fees, he told me he already paid me enough and I am lucky he hasn’t taken me to court based on my ‘increased income”. Is this possible? Please help.

In order to properly answer your question I would have to review your Separation Agreement and examine the spousal support and child support provisions. Generally , the court will not modify the child support and maintenance support provisions of a signed agreement unless there is a radical change in the incomes of one or both of the parties. Until there is a new court order, however, your husband must continue to pay you as agreed upon, regardless of the changed financial situation.

If you are living in the New York City metropolitan area I strongly suggest that you call me at 212-370-1660 to discuss mediating this issue so that it does not get to the court which will require attorneys and additional legal expenses.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions