Spousal support, also known as alimony, is not mandatory during the divorce. Rather, this monetary award is designed to help address financial difficulties that may arise following the divorce. If the divorce leaves one party in a financial downturn, the court may award them spousal support.
The primary purpose of spousal support is to ensure that the receiving party gains the financial footing they need to be self-supporting. For instance, spousal support can be meant to help the receiving party receive the education, skill or experience they need to find work. Once this goal has been realized, either party may seek to stop or modify spousal support payments.
So on what grounds can you modify spousal support?
Most often, the court will attach a specific timeframe to a spousal support order. However, courts understand that situations can change over time, and this might justify a modification. Depending on the specifics of your case, spousal support may be increased or reduced.
Either party can petition for a spousal support modification. To obtain a modification, the petitioning party must prove a substantial change in circumstances and how this warrants spousal support modification. Generally, substantial change may be related to the receiving party’s needs or the paying party’s ability to make the payments.
Some of the circumstances that may justify spousal support modification include:
- A disability or illness that impacts your ability to work
- An involuntary loss of employment of business
- A significant change in either party’s financial situation
- An unexpected financial emergency
- The receiving party’s unwillingness to become self-supporting
Do you need to go to court for spousal support modification?
You do not have to litigate spousal support modification in court. If you and your ex can amicably agree to a modification, then you can reach a settlement between yourselves. However, the agreed modification must be signed by the judge to be enforceable.
Spousal support can help the receiving party get back on their feet after the divorce. Find out how you can protect your legal rights while petitioning for spousal support modification in Texas.