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Should my alimony payments be modified?

Alimony is a complex obligation. The theory supporting alimony orders aims to ensure that each spouse is given fair access to marital income, assets and (in some cases) experience upon divorce. However, spousal support obligations are not often intended to last until each spouse perishes. Family law has moved away from a lifetime alimony obligation model in recent decades towards a model that supports each spouse’s future independent wellbeing.

Essentially, this means that if the recipient spouse marries another individual post-divorce, the alimony obligations of the paying spouse will generally terminate. This kind of relationship-based grounds for termination will also generally arise if the recipient spouse lives with another romantic partner. In addition, there are other circumstances under which alimony payments will be terminated or modified.

If the paying or recipient spouse experiences a significant shift in income or assets, a modification may be warranted. Modifications may be made if the recipient spouse increases his or her income past a certain point and they may be made if the paying spouse experiences significant financial hardship.

Just as every marriage and every divorce is unique, every alimony scenario is unique as well. Therefore, if you have questions about whether or not your payments should be modified, it is generally a good idea to speak with an attorney about the particulars of your situation. An attorney can assess the specifics of your circumstances and advise you in accordance with local laws and regulations that may uniquely impact you and your former spouse.

Source: The Huffington Post, “5 Reasons Why Alimony Should Be Reduced or Terminated if You’re Living With Someone,” Diane L. Danois, Oct. 27, 2014

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