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How to obtain the revaluation or reduction of alimony payments?

Are you divorced? Are you paying alimony but deem that the amount is too high, or that it is no longer justified? Are you receiving alimony from your ex-spouse, but deem that the amount is too low? Ask for your alimony to be revised or withdrawn.

Revaluing or reducing alimony!

Request a revision or withdrawal of alimony

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Whether your alimony was set by agreement with your spouse in the divorce agreement, or imposed on you by the judge, you can apply to have your alimony revised or withdrawn.

Alimony is set in proportion to the needs of your children and your income, so any change in your situation gives you the right to ask for the amount of alimony to be amended or even withdrawn.

New circumstances enabling you to request a review of alimony payments

If you wish to request an adjustment of your alimony (upwards or downwards), you must provide proof of new circumstances. In other words, there must have been a change in your financial situation, or in the financial situation of your ex-spouse, or there must have been a change in your child’s needs.

  • You can request an upward revision of the amount of alimony if:
  • Your child’s needs have increased: further education justifying higher tuition fees, the transition to adolescence justifying higher living expenses, etc.
  • Your resources have decreased: redundancy, drop in income, end of unemployment benefits, work accident, illness, etc.
  • Your ex-spouse has maintained their financial situation or has seen their income increase.

It’s not enough for your ex-spouse’s income to have increased to qualify for an upward revision of alimony. You must be able to justify that your situation has worsened, or that the maintenance of your child involves new expenses.

You can request a downward revision of the amount of alimony if:

  • Your ex-spouse’s resources have increased: your ex-spouse has remarried and their financial situation has improved.
  • Your resources have decreased: your income has dropped, you’ve been laid off, an illness has prevented you from working, or you’ve retired. If you have a new child from a new relationship, judges tend to refuse to reduce your alimony payments on the grounds that you can’t impose your new lifestyle choices on your child. However, it is possible to obtain a downward revision of your alimony payments, provided you can prove your case.
  • Your child’s needs have diminished.

You can have your alimony reduced if:

  • You are materially unable to pay the alimony.
  • Your child can support themselves: judges consider that if your child earns the equivalent of one minimum wage, they can support themselves. 

However, just because your child has reached adulthood does not mean you can stop paying alimony; you must prove that they can support themselves.

In order to obtain a downward revision of the alimony, or its complete cancellation, the new circumstances must be beyond your control. For example, you must not hide your income, or not look for a job after being laid off, so as to obtain this revision before finding a new job.

How do I request a review of alimony payments?

You can’t change the amount of alimony payments on your own, so you need to apply to the family court for a review.

If you and your ex-spouse agree to change the amount of alimony, you can draw up a written agreement setting out the new circumstances under which the alimony will be revised. This agreement must be submitted to the judge for approval.

If you are unable to reach an agreement with your ex-spouse, you can ask the judge to review the amount of alimony. The judge will make the final decision.

The application for review of the alimony must be made to the judge and must also be communicated to the public prosecutor. You will be entitled to a review of the alimony as of the date of the application. However, the judge may decide that the withdrawal of alimony payments will take effect either on the date of the event justifying its withdrawal, or on the date the request is lodged.

Prepare the documents justifying this change in situation!

It’s all a question of proof! If you are requesting a downward revision or withdrawal of alimony, please have the following documents ready:

  • Pay slips proving the reduction in your salary.
  • Medical certificate justifying your inability to work.
  • Proof of unemployment, together with details of your efforts to find a job.
  • Try to prove the improvement in your spouse’s financial situation with testimonials from relatives (testimonials from your children are inadmissible).
  • If your child is self-supporting, try to obtain their employment contract, bank statement or notice of assessment.

If you are requesting an upward revision of alimony, have the following documents ready:

  • Proof of school attendance, including tuition fees
  • Lease contract for your child’s accommodation and insurance policy.
  • Bank transfers.
  • Travel expenses to and from university (car, metro, streetcar or bus pass, etc.).

You can no longer pay alimony to your ex-spouse? Are your children’s needs increasing or your income decreasing, and your ex-spouse’s alimony payments are too low? Are you unable to reach an agreement with your ex-spouse to change the amount of alimony? Contact a lawyer in your area who belongs to the AGN network, and we’ll get you an adjustment of your alimony!

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