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Barnes v. Barnes Modification of Spousal Support

In the recent published case of Barnes v. Barnes, the Virginia Court of Appeals has made a big court ruling.  The Court ruled that a Husband’s onset of dementia and his retirement are not sufficient change of circumstances for a modification of  spousal support.  In 1991, Husband was ordered to pay $1,200 in spousal support.  After Husband’s retirement and onset of dementia, he sought to reduce his spousal support obligation.  Although Husband offered evidence of his current income,  he failed to offer evidence how his income had changed from 1991. The Court suggested that the Husband could have moved to have the opinion from the earlier Court of Appeals  opinion  admitted into evidence.  Thereafter, he  could have subsequently requested the trial court  to take judicial notice of a fact from the earlier case.

The lesson from this court case is simple.  When trying to modify spousal support, you should take several steps.  One, an individual should establish his prior income level.  Two, one should establish a change in circumstances.  Three, one should establish a new income level.  Four, one should establish the connection between the change in circumstances and the new income level.

If you are trying to modify spousal  support, all steps must happen.  The failure of any step can lead to a bad outcome. The bad outcome would be no modification of spousal support.

It is important to talk to an experienced family law attorney like Anthony Montagna, III.  You can reach Anthony by calling 757-622-8100.  You can also view his web site: montagnalaw.com.

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