Basis for Modification of Spousal Support

If you seek modification of spousal support, you will need to prove to the court through evidence and testimony that such modification is warranted. Generally, a substantial change in circumstances must be shown to justify such a support order modification. Because the court ordered the support award in the first instance, modification must be based on sound evidence that the circumstances have changed in such a way that modification is justifiable.

Modification of Spousal Support

In most cases, a support order can be modified based on substantially changed circumstances. However, there are some court ordered spousal support awards that cannot be modified based on the terms of the order. To get a modification in cases where the order can be modified a party who seeks modification must generally prove that a material change of circumstances occurred since the most recent support order. Change of circumstance which may justify such a modification may include:

  • Remarriage of either party;
  • If the paying spouse has newly added responsibilities due to the need to care for children from another relationship, modification may be awarded;
  • Loss of income or reduction of income of either party; or
  • Illness which impairs either party's ability to work and be self supporting.

If the change of circumstances was in the party's control, the court may not grant a modification in that party's favor. It is important to document changes of circumstance with as much evidence as possible since a court will make its decision based on the testimony and evidence each party presents at the modification hearing.

Each state has its own law regarding spousal support and modification, so you must consult local law regarding the likelihood of modification in your support case. An experienced attorney can help you figure out the best method for supporting your side of a modification petition.

Getting Legal Help

A spousal support order is a legally binding court order. If you would like to seek a modification of such an order, it is a good idea to consult an experienced attorney at the outset. An attorney can advise you of the law regarding modification in your state, advise you of the procedure for obtaining a modification and represent you in court if you wish.

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