Many divorced couples view the demise of their marriage so unfavorably that they dread ever having to revisit that chapter in their lives. However, circumstances can arise where they may need to make some needed changes. Seeking a modification of a court order is one way to address these matters..
You can seek modifications to your divorce decree, parenting plan or support order depending on your reasoning for doing so.
Grounds on which you can seek an increase in spousal support
The spouse who makes the most money is generally responsible for making spousal support payments. Changes in circumstances such as a paying spouse’s significant increase in income may warrant the recipient spouse to pursue increased spousal support. A change in law may allow a dependent spouse to receive an increase in support as well.
You’ll want to review your original divorce decree to see if it contains a cost-of-living adjustment clause. If it does, then the support recipient may be able to pursue an increase by calculating that amount using an annual cost-of-living calculator.
It’s also possible that your divorce decree may include an escalator clause allowing for your spousal support to increase at a predetermined rate as your ex’s income increases.
Situations that may result in a reduction of spousal support
Cohabitation with an intimate partner or remarriage can, in some jurisdictions, lead to a termination of spousal support. The same may happen if you procure a higher-paying job that no longer warrants your receiving support.
Your ex’s newfound disabling condition, a decline in health or a significant decrease in income may result in a judge reducing their obligation to pay spousal support. In some jurisdictions, an ex’s remarriage or new child may also allow them to request a reduction to their obligation to pay, especially if it creates a financial hardship to do so.
How to pursue a spousal support modification
If you have been divorced and are making or receiving spousal support payments, circumstances may change, leading you to seek a modification. An attorney can advise whether you meet the requirements to seek a spousal support modification in your case.