Imagine a Maryland family law court ordered you to pay $3,000 a month to your ex-spouse in alimony payments. The problem is, you’ve just lost your job and, at this point, you need the $3,000 a month a lot more than your ex.

If paying your court-ordered alimony is no longer possible, you might be able to submit a motion to modify the divorce judgment.

How do motions to modify divorce judgments work?

Before discussing the motion to modify a divorce judgment in more detail, it’s important to mention the most vital aspect of such a motion. File it as soon as you suffer a significant change in your financial circumstances. Filing a motion to modify sooner rather than later is necessary so that you don’t end up getting behind on your alimony payments — which could result in serious legal and financial consequences.

Your motion to modify the divorce judgment will be a formal request to the court for a reduction in your alimony payments based on your change in financial circumstances. Maybe you lost your high paying job or you suffered a health problem that prevents you from working. These situations might have caused a change in your financial circumstances that was significant enough to affect your ability to pay alimony. You will explain all of this in your motion to modify.

Once drafted, you’ll file your motion to modify with the same court that handled your divorce. Your ex-spouse will have a chance to respond to your motion to modify. You may also have a brief hearing in which you and your spouse appear before the judge to answer any questions about the matter.

You might be able to settle with your ex-spouse

In order to avoid the cost and expense of litigating a motion to modify, you might be able to reach an out-of-court agreement with your ex-spouse. When you and your ex fully understand your legal rights relating to how a judge would probably decide the motion to modify, an out-of-court settlement is an excellent way to resolve the matter without the time and stress of formalized court proceedings.