Sometimes called “alimony” or “spousal maintenance,” spousal support is money paid from one spouse to the other during or following divorce. Spousal support is not always awarded, but it can be a crucial financial lifeline for people after divorce, especially homemakers who withdrew from the workforce to raise a family.
Spousal support orders are set for an amount and duration that are appropriate to the circumstances. However, each party’s circumstances can change in a way that warrants modifying support payments. If you are making or receiving spousal maintenance payments, it is useful to know which circumstances require or allow a change in payments.
Substantial Change in Circumstances
A change in spousal support requires a substantial change in circumstances and many different situations can qualify. To begin with, if the party receiving spousal support gets married again, moves in with a new partner, or dies, spousal support payments stop. In fact, an individual who is receiving payments can be faced with legal consequences if they fail to notify the paying party that they are cohabiting with, or married to, a new partner.
A substantial change in either party’s income, employability, or ability to be financially self-sustaining can also justify a modification. The party paying spousal support must petition the court that issued the original spousal support order and provide arguments and evidence supporting their belief that the circumstances justify a change in payments. When deciding whether to modify support payments, courts will consider many factors. These include, but are not limited to:
How long the marriage lasted and how much the paying spouse has paid already
Substantial changes in either spouse’s income, employment, or asset ownership
A decrease in either spouse’s future ability to make money, such as disability or serious illness
Whether the receiving spouse has made good faith efforts to become self-sufficient
Changes in employment must be also made in good faith, meaning that a spouse cannot quit their job or take a job that pays less simply to avoid paying spousal support. It is also important to note that, no matter the change in circumstances or how certain the paying spouse is that payments will be stopped or changed, payments must be made until the court approves the changes.
Speak with a Wheaton Spousal Support Lawyer
The DuPage County alimony attorneys with Andrew Cores Family Law Group have many years of experience helping former spouses petition to modify spousal support. If you believe the circumstances may justify changing or ending your payments and want to know more, schedule a free consultation on the phone or in-person today. Call us at 630-871-1002.