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Reasons for Modifications to Spousal Maintenance Awards
When a couple divorces, it is not uncommon for one party to provide spousal support to the other. This generally occurs when one spouse was taken out of the workforce or otherwise does not have the financial means to provide for him or herself after the divorce. However, it may be possible to modify such an award for one of several reasons.
Your Former Spouse Gets Remarried
If you former spouse gets remarried, it may be possible to end the spousal support in its entirety. It may also be possible to have the support reduced if it can be proven that a boyfriend or girlfriend is providing significant support such as a home to live in or money to pay bills.
Your Income Has Dropped
If your income has dropped, it may not be possible to provide as much support to a former spouse. A judge will generally agree to reduce the support payments or agree to a new payment schedule to accommodate a change in financial circumstances. It may be necessary to verify that your income has decreased through no fault of your own to be entitled to a modification for this reason.
Your Former Spouse Can Provide for Him or Herself
In the event that your spouse has gotten a new job, an inheritance or another source of income, it may not be necessary to provide support any longer. The process to get a modification in this scenario may be the same as if your income changed. You may be able to go to court to get a judge to sign off on a spousal support modification or perhaps have the support ended entirely.
Your Spouse Hid Assets or Lied About His or Her Finances
During a divorce, both parties must disclose all relevant financial information. If a spouse hid assets, it may be grounds to lower or end spousal support. While spousal support is often agreed to by the couple themselves, the amount may be decided by a judge based on state law when the couple cannot agree. The amount of support is generally based on the amount of money each party has. Therefore, hiding assets could artificially inflate the amount of support received from the other spouse. Spousal support can be a great tool for those who need help immediately after a divorce. However, the amount of support can change as circumstances warrant them. If you need help obtaining support or getting a modification, it may be worthwhile to contact a family law attorney.