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Can I change my alimony payments?

When you get divorced, it is the end of your marriage, but if you receive an alimony order, you'll still have a court-ordered relationship of some kind with your ex. Alimony is a thorn in the side of many former spouses, but in some cases, it becomes not only frustrating but downright debilitating. If your circumstances change significantly, then you may no longer be able to fulfill your alimony obligations, which is perfectly reasonable. Fortunately, it is possible to modify an alimony order if you follow proper procedures.

In general, a court may modify your alimony order if you submit a motion to modify the order and demonstrate that you simply cannot reasonably make the payments outlined in the original order. There is no reason to destroy your own financial life if you can reasonably prove that the alimony order is unsustainable.

This might be a temporary modification if you have a temporary change in circumstances, such as an injury that takes you out of work for a certain period of time. You may also seek a permanent modification if your circumstances change more permanently, such as changing jobs and decreasing income.

It is also important to note that in most cases, an alimony-receiving spouse who remarries terminates the alimony order. While there are some rare exceptions, you should not have to continue to pay alimony after your former spouse marries someone else.

If you need an alimony modification, don't wait to begin the process. You can consult with an experienced attorney to see how your circumstances may justify a modification. An attorney can also ensure that you follow proper procedures to maximize your chances of seeing your motion for modification approved.

Source: Findlaw, "Appeals and Motions to Modify the Divorce Judgment," accessed Aug. 18, 2017

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