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Surprising Things May Lead To Alimony Modification

Cohabitation, remarriage, and changes in earnings are some of the most common reasons for modifying alimony. However, there are things people don't usually think about, but these things can also lead to alimony modifications. Here are a few examples of such factors:

Financial Emergency

Either you or your former spouse has the right to request a modification if you suffer a financial emergency. For example, you may run into a financial emergency if you get injured in an accident and your insurance doesn't cover all the costs. In such a case, the paying spouse may ask for a reduction while the receiving spouse may request an increase of the alimony payments.


Inflation increases the cost of living; therefore, the amount of money that covers your former spouse's living expenses today may not be adequate for the same expenses when inflation increases. This is why some alimony orders contain built-in cost of living adjustments, or COLA, to cover inflation. However, if your order did not have such a clause, you may have to go to court to get an inflation-related modification of your alimony.

Change in Law

Alimony law has always been a contentious issue, so it's not surprising people will always be seeking to modify it or come up with new regulations. Consider an example where you are paying or receiving permanent alimony and expect to receive it the rest of your life, and then a new law may be constituted that does away with permanent alimony. In such a case, the person paying the alimony may go to court to have the payments stopped. A similar changed occurred in Massachusetts a few years back.

Recipients Loss of Income

If you are paying spousal support, then you probably know you can file a motion to modify your alimony payments if you lose your income. What you may not know is that your former partner may also file a similar motion if he or she loses his or her income.

This is because spousal support is meant to give a former marital partner a standard of living similar to one he or she would receive if the marriage hadn't ended. As such, it takes into consideration your ex-partner's income; meaning the more your former partner is earning, the less alimony he or she is likely to receive. It follows, therefore, that you may be required to increase the alimony payments if the former partner loses his or her income. 

Talk to a family lawyer, like the ones at Fraser Legal PC, for more information on alimony modification.