How best to protect myself regarding the amount of spousal support that I owe?

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How best to protect myself regarding the amount of spousal support that I owe?

My wife and I have a tentative martial settlement agreement in place. However, I have a problem with some of the language in the agreement. The agreement states that I pay my wife spousal support for a fixed amount every month until I die, she dies, she remarries, or if there is a court order mandating something to the contrary. Is it possible to include language in the agreement that stipulates that should there be a material change in my employment situation, (retirement, layoff, termination) the amount I pay in spousal support can be renegotiated to reflect my new income situation?

Asked on July 28, 2011 California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Please, please, please DO NOT SIGN THAT AGREEMENT until an attorney reviews it.  How long have you been married?  You ar agreeing to permanent alimony or spousal support which the courts do not necessarily order unless it is a marriage of really long duration, there is no way that the spouse can get herself back on her feet as to order rehabilitative maintenance instead, and a host of other factors to be considered.  You always have the option to go back to court to ask for modification of an order due to a change in circumstances - such as being laid off - but retirement may not be enough.  Let an attorney at least review it and add that language for you.  Please.  If anything reduce it in retirement from the get go.  Good luck.


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