In Silverman v. Silverman, the increase in the cost of living was accepted as a “change in circumstances”, resulting in the modification of alimony.
By Laura Morgan, Family Law Consultant
An increased cost of living over time can qualify as a “change in circumstances,” that would justify a modification of alimony, but the reduction in the purchasing power of the dollar is insufficient grounds, on its own, to support a modification; rather, there must be a showing that the national problem of inflation impacts specifically on the individual claiming inflation as the basis for modification. Consumer Price Index showing that $6,100 per month in alimony that wife was awarded in divorce was equal to $10,187 in today’s dollars, without more, was not a substantial change in circumstances to justify modification of alimony, despite wife’s claim that she could not maintain style of living that she had been accustomed to during the marriage, based on wife’s stated need for “a copious clothing allowance, four trips annually to an exclusive golf resort, numerous holidays and travels to Europe, California, Las Vegas, Bahamas, New York, cruises, ultra chic shopping, bi-annual new luxury automobiles, live-in maid service, in-house weekly massages, health club memberships, manicures, pedicures, and extravagant entertainment.”
Laura Morgan is a Family Law Consultant. Laura is available for consultation, brief writing and research on family law issues throughout the country. She can be reached through her Web site.