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Can Spousal Maintenance Be Modified or Terminated After a Divorce?

Posted on in Spousal Maintenance

IL divorce lawyerWhile it will not be appropriate in every divorce case, there are some situations where one party will be required to pay spousal maintenance to the other. This form of financial support, which is commonly known as alimony, may be awarded in cases where one spouse earns a lower income than the other, where a spouse is a stay-at-home parent, or where a person would require assistance in order to maintain their accustomed standard of living. Once a spousal support order is created, financial support will need to be paid from one party to the other on an ongoing basis. However, following a couple’s divorce, situations may arise in which a spouse may believe that maintenance should be modified, or a person may request that their support obligations be terminated altogether.

Reasons for Modifying Spousal Maintenance

In most cases, spousal maintenance will be awarded for a fixed term that is determined based on the number of years the spouses were married. There are certain situations where a person may be ordered to pay maintenance indefinitely, including when a couple was married for at least 20 years. In some cases, maintenance may be reviewable, and after a certain period of time, the court may consider the circumstances of each party to determine whether payments should continue or whether they should be modified or terminated.

Requests to make changes to fixed-term or indefinite spousal maintenance will usually need to be based on changes in the circumstances of one or both parties. A change of circumstances must be substantial, and it will usually need to affect the financial needs of either party or impact a person’s ability to continue paying support to their ex-spouse. For example, if the person paying support experiences a disability that affects their employment, resulting in a lowered income, they may ask that for their spousal support obligations to be reduced or terminated. The payor may also ask for a reduction or elimination of support if they can show that their ex-spouse has begun earning a larger income and can fully support themselves without assistance.

There are some situations where spousal maintenance obligations may be automatically terminated. The death of either party will result in a termination of support obligations, unless the couple had made other arrangements, such as naming the recipient as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. Maintenance will also be terminated if the recipient gets remarried or begins cohabitating with a new partner. If any maintenance payments were made after the date of the recipient’s marriage or cohabitation, the payer will be entitled to a reimbursement of the amount paid after their obligations should have been terminated.

Contact Our Will County Spousal Maintenance Modification Attorneys

If you are currently paying spousal maintenance, and you believe that the amount you pay should be modified or that your obligations should be terminated altogether, the Law Office of Ronald L. Hendrix, P.C. can advise you of your options. We will help you determine whether you are eligible for a modification, and we will work with you to demonstrate that you have experienced significant changes in your circumstances and ensure that you will be able to maintain financial stability going forward. Contact our Plainfield spousal support lawyers today at 630-355-7776 to arrange a free consultation and learn how we can help with your case.



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