Common Reasons for Spousal Maintenance Modification

In the state of Arizona, spousal support (also called alimony or spousal maintenance) can be modified unless the parties have agreed otherwise. In the initial divorce settlement, divorcing spouses can agree in their divorce decree that they can or cannot legally ask the court to modify their alimony agreement.

If your divorce decree allows for modification of spousal maintenance, you may be able to lower payments, increase payments, or have them terminated altogether. There are many common reasons that either party might request a modification to their alimony.

If two former spouses have come to an agreement that they can modify the terms of an alimony agreement, it can be done without the courts approval. However, if one spouse later does not want to follow the agreement, issues may arise. When you come to an agreement without court approval, this means you cannot later use the court to enforce any new agreements. Because of this, The Glendale divorce lawyers at The Sampair Group suggest that you have your initial agreement signed by a judge for your legal protection.

If your original divorce agreement includes a cost of living clause, then spousal support/alimony will increase at a rate that is equal to a spouse’s annual cost of living. Having this clause minimizes the need to modify your alimony agreement later down the road.

Including an escalator clause in a spousal support agreement means that the recipient of support payments will receive an automatic share of any increase in the income of their former spouse. These payments are pre-determined and automatic.

Temporary hardships, such as illness or loss of employment can be reasons for temporary modification of spousal support. If the spouse that is receiving the alimony payments loses their job or becomes ill, the court may temporarily increase the amount they receive. If the payor loses a job or becomes ill, the court may also temporarily decrease their payments to their former spouse. The court determines a set period of lower payments, and they will revert back to the previous amount once that period is over.

There are other circumstances that could result in modification of a spousal support order. This could be for many reasons including:
· Increase in Income
· Change in Law
· Cohabitation – if an ex-spouse cohabitates with another person
· Cost of Living Increase
· Decreased Need for Support – the court may decrease or terminate payment obligations
· Disability
· Financial Emergency
· New Support Obligation – if the payor remarries and has a child, the court may reduce the amount they are paying for spousal support. This does not apply to an ex-spouse who voluntarily takes on the responsibility of supporting stepchildren

In any case of modifying or requesting to modify your divorce decree for spousal maintenance, it is important to have legal representation at all times during the process. Contact a Glendale divorce lawyer at The Sampair Group today. Visit www.sampair.com for a free consultation.