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Can I Adjust My Alimony Payments in Maryland because of High Inflation?

Inflation increases the cost of living. When the value of a dollar declines, expenses go up. Housing, food, transportation, and other daily necessities are suddenly too expensive to afford. Although prices have increased, your monthly income hasn’t changed. When expenses exceed wages or salary, you can’t pay the cost of living anymore.

Alimony is necessary for many people. Someone who spent years or decades being financially dependent on their spouse might not have the skills, education, or resources to seek employment. Even when the divorce is final, they still need their ex for support. Alimony payments can pay for basic needs, so the dependent partner doesn’t struggle.

However, high inflation can significantly impact a person’s cost of living. It might have been easy to afford rent, food, and other expenses without issues pre-inflation. Higher prices require spending more money, which many people don’t have. Some face massive debt when they can’t keep up with increasing living expenses. Whether you pay or receive alimony, you could petition the court for a modification.

When Can I Ask to Have Alimony Payments Adjusted?

A request for an alimony modification is only valid if there’s a material change in circumstances, such as:

  • Either spouse’s income decreased or increased by at least 25 percent
  • Fraud or concealment existed while creating the original alimony agreement
  • Either spouse receives a significant inheritance
  • One person loses their job or suffers a pay cut
  • One spouse gets a new job or gets a pay raise

How Has Inflation Affected the Cost of Living? 

Typically, inflation affects the cost of living over time. It occurs when prices change and the value of a dollar declines. When the economy grows and demand rises, prices increase to meet these demands. Unfortunately, most people don’t have extra money lying around to cover higher expenses. This often leads to financial strain and debt.

The cost of living includes all costs for an acceptable standard of living, such as:

  • Taxes
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Food
  • Healthcare
  • Clothing
  • Expenses to care for a child, such as daycare and education

When the money coming in is higher than the money going out, you can afford the cost of living. However, once your expenses exceed your income, you can no longer pay for everything. It becomes a struggle to determine how to provide for yourself and your family.

Complicating Factors

Inflation affects everyone but not in the same ways. For some people, higher prices on things like gas and groceries require spending more money each month but don’t deplete their entire income. Unfortunately, other people can’t compensate for the additional expenses they incur. They might have to pay for everyday essentials on credit cards and incur interest.

Additionally, inflation leads to residual issues. You might not realize the effect it has on value. During periods of inflation, the value of your home can decrease. Although it doesn’t immediately impact the amount of money you have, it can reduce the price of your home if you choose to sell.

Inflation also creates challenges regarding family dynamics. Many people can’t provide for their families when the cost of living increases. Putting food on the table and keeping the lights on is a common problem around the country under normal circumstances. When expenses go up, it creates even more of an economic burden.

How We Can Help

At The McKeon Law Firm, we use a personalized strategy with each case we take. We understand no two clients are alike, and needs can differ drastically. You can count on our team to learn about the unique factors involved in your family law matter and provide the services you require.

If you want to learn about your options regarding creating an alimony agreement or modifying a current order, do not hesitate to call us at 301-417-9222 for a consultation. We represent clients in Gaithersburg and Bethesda, MD.

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