In today’s economy, money is a significant source of stress for many people. Following a divorce, there are various adjustments to your lifestyle that can drastically change your financial situation. This can result in you having a tough time making ends meet. If your former spouse depends on your income, the court may order you to pay alimony. This financial support can add to your stress and create severe economic hardship. However, if you experience an unexpected financial windfall, you may feel your luck is finally turning around. While you may believe this sudden influx of money will wash away all of your financial troubles, it’s crucial to understand that it can complicate your alimony obligation. Please continue reading to learn how a financial windfall can impact your alimony payments in New York and how an adept Nassau County Alimony Lawyer can help you today. 

What is a Financial Windfall?

When an individual comes into a large, unexpected sum of money, it’s considered a financial windfall. Although no universally accepted threshold defines a windfall, they can range in size from hundreds to millions of dollars. For example, an unanticipated $300 could be a windfall for an individual with a low income. Financial windfalls can come from many sources. However, the most common situations include:

  • Inheritance of money or property from a relative
  • A life insurance payout
  • Profit from the sale of a home
  • The payout from a lawsuit against a negligent party
  • Lottery winnings
  • An employee bonus or raise
  • Exercising stock options
  • A tax refund

The characteristic that sets financial windfall apart is that it’s unplanned, as it’s not expected through regular income. While a windfall may seem like a positive turn of events for your finances, it can also present new challenges regarding money management.

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

In some divorces, the court may award alimony to provide a dependent spouse with financial support to maintain the lifestyle they were accustomed to during the marriage. Alimony is awarded to minimize the unfair financial discrepancy between divorcing parties. Alimony is a predetermined sum that is paid from one spouse to another. When the court orders alimony, it’s a flat amount, not based solely on any percentage of your current income.

It’s crucial to understand that alimony can be adjusted under certain circumstances. When there’s a significant change in either party’s circumstances, it may warrant a modification to an existing alimony order. If you’ve suddenly come into money, your alimony obligation will not automatically change. Your former spouse can petition the court to modify their payments to reflect a substantial change in financial circumstances. However, they cannot petition the court based on you receiving a windfall. They are burdened with proving that their circumstances have also changed, which warrants increased alimony payments. The court has discretion when determining whether to modify an existing alimony order. Therefore, they will evaluate the unique circumstances of your case.

If you’ve received an unexpected financial windfall, please don’t hesitate to contact a trusted lawyer from The Law Offices of Eyal Talassaszan, P.C., who can help protect your rights and interests.