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Post-decree Modifications and Changing Spousal Support

Male employee with mental health problems in divorce, grief or loss with helpful coworkers

Modifications to an existing decree are possible if there have been substantial changes in circumstances. These changes can include job loss, significant financial loss or gain and medical issues. A modification must be made to an existing divorce degree to change the amount of spousal support.

Male employee with mental health problems in divorce, grief or loss with helpful coworkers

Reasons for a Modification

A divorce decree ordering spousal support may not always stand the test of time. Months or even years may pass and then a change may occur that warrants a modification. There are a variety of reasons to consider a modification, including:

  • Significant financial loss or job loss
  • Significant financial gain
  • Medical problems or injury
  • Recipient lives with someone else

If a significant financial loss occurs, it may be difficult to pay spousal support. This can include losses from theft, fire or another natural disaster. Job loss can also make paying spousal support an undue burden. Divorce decree orders can be modified. An experienceddivorce attorney can ensure that a fair settlement is reached.

Sometimes a situation occurs that results in significant financial gains for either party. If the supporting spouse wins the lottery or otherwise increases his or her wealth, the recipient may consider a modification. If the recipient has a large increase in assets or money the supporting spouse may consider a modification.

Medical problems or injuries may also make it difficult to pay spousal support. If the supporting spouse is no longer able to work a modification would be necessary to change the amount of support originally ordered.

If the recipient cohabitates with someone else, spousal support ends. This relationship must be similar to a marriage. A judge will consider several factors when deciding if a couple is cohabitating. This includes the length of the relationship, how much time is spent together, how the couple vacations, and financial affairs of both partners.

If a supported spouse is living in this manner with another person alimony payments are not longer due from the supporting spouse.

The Process of Modification

The spouse requesting the change must show a significant change in circumstances. The proper forms should be returned to the clerk of the court where the original divorce was filed. A divorce attorney can help construct a solid case.

The other party must be served, and a court date will be set. The hearing gives the spouse requesting a change an opportunity to present why the decree should be changed.

Uncontested divorce lawyer Denise Erlich is passionate about helping divorcing couples in the greater Chicagoland area transition to their new life as seamlessly as possible. Ms. Erlich patiently guides her clients through every step of the divorce process and provides clients with candid advice about their case and legal options, so they can make informed decisions about their future.

Years of Experience: More than 20 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
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