Sometimes, after a divorce, a person's financial situation changes and they can no longer afford to the amount of alimony ordered in the Final Divorce Decree. Fortunately, Georgia law provides an opportunity for a person to modify his/her alimony obligation. Under Georgia law, an alimony judgment "shall be subject to revision upon petition filed by either former spouse showing a change in the income and financial status of either former spouse." O.C.G.A. § 19-6-19(a).
Actor David Hasselhoff is currently trying to modify his alimony obligation to his ex-wife. David Hasselhoff Wants to Retire, Asks Judge For No More Alimony, by TMZ Staff, tmz.com, April 18, 2016. Per their 2006 divorce agreement, Hasselhoff has been paying his ex-wife $21,000/month in alimony. Hasselhoff claims that his monthly gross income is no longer sufficient to cover this amount along with his personal expenses, especially given that he is nearing retirement age. In addition, Hasselhoff alleges that his ex is a talented actor and producer but has made no effort to get a job and become self-supporting.
If this case were in Georgia, Hasselhoff would have to prove that his income or financial status has changed sufficiently to warrant a downward modification of his alimony obligation. Just the fact that he wants to retire will likely not be sufficient on its own, especially if his ex-wife was awarded permanent alimony, because this should have been contemplated during the divorce action. Rather, Hasselhoff will have to show that his financial situation has changed since the 2006 divorce decree, and that change leaves him unable to pay the current amount. Now, if the divorce decree required his ex-wife to make attempts to find employment and she has not done so, then this fact could come into play in the alimony modification action. However, either way, it is unlikely that Hasselhoff would see his alimony reduced to nothing, as the article above states he is trying to do. His ex-wife has already been found entitled to alimony in the divorce decree and "the merits of whether a party is entitled to alimony are not an issue" in alimony modification actions. O.C.G.A. §19-6-20. Accordingly, unless Hasselhoff is completely unable to pay, which the facts as outlined in the article show he is not, he may receive a downward modification of alimony, but his obligation is not likely to completely go away.