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What justifies reducing spousal support?

Spousal support is calculated based on factors like your income and expenses at the time of your divorce, as well as your former spouse's needs. If some of these factors change after the divorce finalizes, a spousal support order may pose an undue burden on the paying spouse, or may become entirely unnecessary. If your circumstances or those of your ex-spouse have changed since your divorce finalized, then you may have grounds to modify your spousal support obligations.

In general, courts may willingly modify a spousal support arrangement if the paying spouse faces changes in circumstance that make it very difficult or impossible to maintain the ordered payments. Similarly, some changes in the life of the receiving spouse may trigger the end of spousal support obligations. If, for instance, a person who is paying spousal support faces an involuntary reduction in income, the court may alter the payment obligation to something more manageable.

If, on the other hand, a person receiving spousal support remarries or cohabitates with another person as a couple (not as roommates), then the paying spouse's support obligation may terminate. Similarly, if the receiving individual passes away, then the support generally ceases. There are some small exceptions to these guidelines, but they are usually dependable.

If you believe that your spousal support order is too heavy a burden, or if you believe that it is time to terminate the spousal support order altogether, be sure to consult with an experienced attorney who understands how to navigate the modification process and keep your rights protected. You may have more options than you realize!

Source: Findlaw, "5 Potential Ways to Reduce Spousal Support," accessed Sep. 29, 2017

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