What Impact Does an Unexpected Financial Windfall Have on Alimony Payments?


When individuals are down on their luck, they often dream about winning the lottery or receiving a significant inheritance to get them out of deep waters with their financial standing. Fortunately for some, this dream becomes a reality. However, while there are benefits to an unexpected financial windfall, there are some complications that such an influx of money can create. Many individuals fail to realize how a sudden financial windfall can impact their alimony payments. Please continue reading to learn how a financial windfall can affect your alimony payments and how our knowledgeable Bristol County Alimony Lawyers can help guide you during these challenging times.Β 

What is a Financial Windfall?

A financial windfall is when someone receives a large lump sum, often unexpected, amount of money. They can range in size from hundreds to millions of dollars. However, regardless of size, they offer individuals the opportunity to improve their financial situation. Financial windfalls can come from various sources. The following include, but are not limited to, some of the most common windfalls:

  • An employee raise or bonus
  • Inheritance of money or property
  • Profit from the sale of a home or other property
  • Exercising stock options
  • Prize or lottery winnings
  • A life insurance payout
  • The payout from a lawsuit
  • A tax refund

Ultimately, the main thing that differentiates a financial windfall is that it’s unplanned. This sudden monetary gain is not anticipated and is not part of your regular income or budget.

Will My Alimony Payments Increase?

Firstly, alimony or spousal support is a predetermined sum paid from one former spouse to another. When the divorce is finalized, alimony is awarded to support the individual dependent on their spouse’s income during the marriage. Essentially, alimony is intended to minimize the financial discrepancy between divorcing parties. Once the court orders alimony, the higher-earning spouse must pay this flat amount to enable their former spouse to maintain the lifestyle they were accustomed to during the marriage. However, an alimony obligation can be adjusted under certain circumstances. If an individual has an unexpected financial windfall, the court will likely consider it as grounds to modify an existing alimony order.

Therefore, if you have recently come into a significant amount of money, your alimony payments will not automatically change. Your former spouse must petition the court to modify your existing alimony order. However, they cannot file a petition to modify an alimony order solely based on your receiving more funds. Instead, they must demonstrate that their circumstances have changed and warrant increased alimony payments.

Given the high stakes, it’s in your best interest to contact a determined Bristol County alimony lawyer from The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C., who can help you protect your financial security.