When Can You Seek Changes to Spousal Support Orders?

Your divorce was many years ago, and in your opinion, you've paid more than enough support to your ex-spouse. You have an obligation to continue paying thanks to the court's decision, but you believe you should have the right to change those orders because of a number of situational factors.

What kinds of factors play a role in your right to change spousal support obligations? There are a few, from your ex getting remarried to earning more or less than in the past.

What is Alimony?

Alimony, or spousal support, is an amount of money paid to a spouse each month or on other terms to help support the spouse as he or she becomes self-supporting.

Alimony is often paid as a kind of compensation for a spouse supporting the other during the relationship. For instance, if a woman works while supporting her husband who is going to school, then he may pay her back in alimony during a divorce.

How long do you pay alimony?

Alimony is usually paid for only a short time until the spouse receiving it is "rehabilitated." That means that the individual has the support until he or she can become financially balanced and support him or herself. Sometimes, a divorce decree indicates how long the alimony is paid, while other times there is no specific termination date. If there is not, then the alimony may continue until the recipient gets married again.

What can you do if you believe your ex-spouse no longer needs alimony?

If you have information that suggests that your ex-spouse no longer needs alimony, like information on his or her new high-paying job or that he or she is living with a partner, then you may wish to talk to your attorney about seeking a change to your alimony payments. Since alimony is rehabilitative, it makes sense to end it as soon as the other party no longer needs it.