Increased Alimony for Changed Financial Circumstances

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Most Common Family Law Issues:

What is Alimony?

Alimony, or spousal support, is money payments made by one spouse to another when the two divorce or become separated.  The intent of alimony is to support the recipient during their quest to become financially independent, and also to recognize their non-monetary contributions during the marriage.  Alimony payments can be in lump-sum amounts or made in installments.  In certain circumstances, the amount of alimony payments can be changed.

When is an Increase in Amount or Duration of Alimony Allowed?

Alimony payments can be increased in amount or duration because of changed financial circumstances in several ways.  These can include:

It may be possible to increase the amount or duration of alimony payment if there is an improvement in the paying individual's financial situation.  This is generally limited to an increase that covers the yet unmet financial needs of the alimony recipient.

What Must be Proved to Increase the Amount or Duration of Alimony?

In order to get a court to increase the amount or duration of alimony, the spouse asking for the change must prove:

  1. The change in their financial circumstance is sufficient in magnitude to warrant an alimony modification, and
  2. The paying individual has the financial ability to pay the suggested increased amount of alimony.

In some cases, the alimony recipient who is trying to change the amount of alimony must also prove that the increase in amount or duration is consistent with the rehabilitation goals set out in the original divorce decree or settlement agreement.

What is the Result of a Successful Argument?

If the recipient of alimony is successful in their attempts to change the amount they receive, a court can order any of the following:

When is an Increase in Amount or Duration of Alimony Not Allowed?

Generally speaking, if any of the following exist, a court will be less likely to change the existing alimony:

Do I Need an Attorney to Handle My Changing Alimony Issue?

If you are trying to increase the amount of alimony you receive because of some changed financial circumstances, or you are trying to defend against such increases, it is strongly recommended that you contact a family law attorney who specializes in alimony and spousal support because of the potentially negative effects that could result.  Only an attorney can adequately explain the issues and help defend your rights.

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Last Modified: 02-16-2012 03:21 PM PST

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