At the time of your divorce, you and your spouse came to an agreement about alimony payments or the court made that decision for you. Support amounts and duration were determined based on what you knew at the time, but circumstances often change post-divorce. In today’s blog post we’re looking at four situations that may require a modification of your spousal support agreement. Alimony may only be modified if it was awarded in the divorce and if the award was for an indefinite period of time (i.e. permanent alimony).

If you want a spousal support modification, you will need to illustrate that there has been a “material change in circumstances.” You will petition the court to analyze the situation just as it did when the support was originally awarded. Factors the courts look at include:  

  • Each party’s earning capacity and current financial situation;
  • The supported party’s needs and prior standard of living;
  • Each party’s financial obligations and assets;
  • The length of the marriage; and
  • Information that you provide about the change in circumstances.

 Not every milestone warrants an alimony modification, but major increases or decreases in either party’s income may make a modification appropriate. The following are a few of the main reasons people request a modification in alimony:

1. Illness

If you are diagnosed with a serious or chronic medical condition, it can make working impossible. If you were already receiving support, the amount may need to be increased. If you were the one paying support, it might need to be decreased or even discharged.

2. Better jobs and inheritance

If you came into a lot of money, whether it was a raise, inheritance, lottery win, etc., spousal support amounts may need to be adjusted accordingly.

3. Job loss

We are seeing this more and more as unemployment rates climb. If you lost your job and you receive support, the amount might be increased. If you lost your job and you pay support, the amount you owe might be decreased or eliminated altogether.

4. Your ex remarries or moves in with a significant other.

Typically, alimony ends if the receiving party gets remarried or moves in with someone else. Courts tend to assume that this means his or her new partner will provide the support that he or she needs. 

If you have questions about alimony or if you need help requesting a modification, the OMG team is here to help. We encourage you to contact us today. We can’t wait to hear from you!