Spousal support, AKA as alimony, is a provision that is paid by a supporting spouse to a dependent spouse upon separation or divorce. Spousal support is generally awarded to spouses who make significantly less than the other spouse. Spousal support is separate from child support. There are different rules that govern spousal support. Here are some things to consider if you need to change your payment amount.
Go to Your Alimony Agreement and Court Order First
You have to look at your original agreement to see what is said about making modifications. Your orders may have specific terms about when alimony ends or can be changed. Sometimes, the alimony agreement is non modifiable, in which case, there’s not much you can do. State rules may also apply to your alimony agreement. Sometimes, if you can get your ex-spouse to agree to a modification, you may work around the rules. However, get any agreement in writing and consider submitting it to the court for your protection.
Have a Reason For the Modification
In most cases, to get a modification of spousal support, you’ll need to show a change of circumstances. If your alimony agreement doesn’t prohibit a change, you can file a motion with the court to ask for the modification. If you can work out an agreement with your ex, you’ll probably save money and time, but if you can’t come to an agreement, you’ll still be able file a request with the court. Generally, to get a modification, you’ll have to show why you should pay less:
- The loss of a job or wage reductions.
- An illness or disability that prevents you from working.
- Your ex-spouse is remarried or living with a partner.
- Your ex-spouse has experienced a change (increase) in income.
It’s much rarer for the court to approve an increase in spousal support, but there are times when it can happen. It’s much more common for people to ask to pay less in spousal support.
When you file the motion to request a modification, you may need to show your financial information to the court. Your ex-spouse may need to do the same when he or she responds to your request. The judge will examine your evidence and determine whether a modification is reasonable or not. If the court accepts your request, a new order will be issued.