Alimony or spousal support is never a given in every divorce. That said, if the divorce leaves one party financially disadvantaged, then the court may order spousal support payments to help address the resulting financial discrepancy.
However, spousal support is not cast in stone. There are instances when one of both parties may petition the court for its modification. Here are three such instances:
Remarriage of the receiving party
Your spousal support obligation to your ex automatically comes to an end when they remarry or get into cohabitation with a romantic partner. If you learn that your ex has remarried, or if you can prove that they are cohabiting with a romantic partner, then you can terminate spousal support payments without the court’s intervention. Proving remarriage is pretty easy as a marriage certificate can suffice.
However, proving cohabitation can be a little tricky. To do this, you will need to provide evidence of shared bills or a rental contract that names your ex as a co-tenant with their partner.
Death of either party
Just as with remarriage, spousal support automatically ends when either party dies. This means that the receiving party’s dependents cannot compel the paying party to continue making payments upon their ex’s death. Likewise, spousal support cannot be deducted from the paying party’s estate upon their death.
A substantial change in circumstances
A substantial change in either party’s circumstance can justify spousal support modification. Some of these changes in circumstances may include:
- When the receiving party’s income improves
- When the paying party’s income changes
- When the objective of the payment has been met
- An illness that is financially draining or one that renders the paying party unable to work
Spousal support can be a contentious subject during and after the divorce. Find out how you can safeguard your rights when litigating a spousal support payment.