While a spousal maintenance award will not be made in every divorce case, such an award may be appropriate in cases where one party will require financial support in order to maintain their standard of living. For example, if one spouse is a stay-at-home parent, they may ask for their ex-spouse to provide them with ongoing support payments to ensure that they will be able to meet their financial needs as well as maintain a residence where they can continue to provide care for their children at home during the day. While arrangements for spousal support may address a person’s needs as they move forward following their divorce, the circumstances of both parties may change in the future. If these changes would affect a person’s ability to continue making maintenance payments, or if the recipient of support will no longer need financial assistance, post-divorce modification of a spousal maintenance order may be necessary.
When Can Modifications Be Made to Spousal Support?
Generally, a person can request modifications to spousal maintenance payments if there has been a significant change in circumstances for either party. This kind of situation will typically involve changes to the income that a person earns. For example, a person who pays spousal support may encounter financial hardship due to the loss of a job or a serious injury or illness. If they will be unable to continue paying support while also covering their own ongoing expenses, they may ask for the amount of support to be reduced temporarily, or reduced permanently, or they may request that maintenance payments be terminated altogether.
Modifications may also be needed to address changes that affect the recipient of spousal support. Since maintenance is often intended to help a person become self-supporting, such as by pursuing a college degree or receiving occupational training, it may be appropriate to terminate support payments if the recipient has re-entered the workforce and is earning an income that is sufficient to meet their needs. Maintenance will also be terminated if the recipient gets remarried or begins a new relationship in which they are living together with their partner.
When a party files a petition to modify spousal support, a hearing may be held in which a judge will review the facts of the current situation to determine whether any modifications will be appropriate. The judge may consider factors such as:
Changes in either party’s employment status, or the amount of income they earn, and whether such changes occurred in good faith;
Whether the recipient of maintenance has made efforts to become self-supporting;
Whether there are any issues that have affected either party’s income-earning ability;
The duration of maintenance payments that have already been made in relation to the length of the couple’s marriage; and,
The marital property awarded to both parties in the couple’s divorce, and the property that each party has acquired after the termination of their marriage.
Contact Our Oak Park Spousal Maintenance Modification Lawyer
If you believe that changes that have occurred following your divorce should affect the spousal support you pay or receive, the Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C. can help you determine your options for requesting a modification. We will work with you to file a petition for modification, or respond properly to a modification request by your ex-spouse, and we will advocate for your interests during court hearings. To discuss these matters or related issues in a free consultation, contact our Hillside post-divorce modifications attorney at 708-449-7404.