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Spousal Support Payments

Court rules that pastor's lowered salary should not cause his alimony payments to be reduced.


A Virginia court ruled that a reduction in a pastor's salary was not sufficient grounds to reduce his alimony payments to a former spouse. A pastor and his wife were divorced in 2007. The final divorce decree awarded the wife $4,000 per month in spousal support and ordered the husband to pay $43,318 to his wife for attorney's fees. A few weeks after the entry of the parties' final decree, the church's board of directors voted to cut the husband's salary in half, from $80,000 to $40,000, and reduce his housing allowance from $25,000 to $20,000.

As a result, the husband unilaterally reduced his spousal support payment to $500 per month. He later filed a motion to reduce his spousal support obligation pursuant to a state law granting courts the authority to "increase, decrease, or terminate the amount or duration of any spousal support [award] as the circumstances may ...

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  • November 1, 2010