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When Can Spousal Maintenance Be Modified After a Divorce?

Posted on in Alimony / Maintenance

St. Charles spousal support lawyerThere are a variety of reasons why either spouse may wish to modify the terms of their divorce. Both parties may experience changes in their lives that affect their finances, their living arrangements, and their ability to meet their ongoing obligations or provide for themselves. Based on these changes, a person may believe that the decisions made about spousal support during the divorce process no longer apply to their situation. If a person believes that a modification of spousal maintenance is needed, they will want to understand their options and the procedures that will be followed.

Requesting a Modification of Spousal Maintenance

As with other types of post-divorce modifications, requests to make changes to spousal support obligations will need to be based on significant changes in the circumstances of either or both parties. These requests will usually be based on changes to the income and financial resources available to the parties. For example, if a person paying support loses their job, they may ask for maintenance payments to be reduced or terminated. Similarly, if the person receiving support experiences a decrease in income or an increase in their financial needs, they may ask that support payments be increased.

To request a modification of spousal support, a person will need to file a petition with the court. When considering whether to modify maintenance, the court will look at issues such as:

  • Changes in the employment status of either party and whether these changes were made in good faith. Being laid off may be a legitimate reason to request a modification. However, if a person voluntarily quits their job or accepts a pay cut in an attempt to reduce or eliminate the requirement to pay spousal support, their request for a modification may be denied.

  • Impairments to either party’s income-earning capacity. For example, health issues may affect a person’s ability to work, and this may cause a person to struggle to support themself while also meeting their obligations toward their former spouse.

  • Increases or decreases in income and other changes in the parties’ financial circumstances. The court may look at how changes to both parties’ incomes affect their ability to support themselves, as well as whether they have acquired significant assets or debts since their divorce was finalized. For example, if the spouse who receives maintenance has begun earning a higher income or has acquired significant financial assets, the other spouse may ask that spousal support be modified or terminated.

If the spouse who receives maintenance gets remarried, spousal support payments will be terminated. The paying spouse may also request that maintenance be terminated because the other spouse has entered into a relationship with a new partner. In these cases, the paying spouse will need to show that the receiving spouse is cohabitating with their new partner on a conjugal basis, meaning that they are living together in a relationship similar to that of a married couple.

Contact Our St. Charles Spousal Maintenance Modification Attorneys

If you believe that your spousal support order should be modified, or if you need to respond to a modification request by your ex-spouse, the attorneys of Goostree Law Group can help you understand your options and provide you with representation when addressing these matters in family court. Contact our Kane County post-divorce modification lawyers at 630-584-4800 to arrange your free consultation.



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