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Yes, it is possible to modify spousal support orders

It is not uncommon, after a divorce, for former spouses to pay or receive support payments. Depending on what side one falls on, namely payor or payee, spousal support can be a burden or a blessing. Thankfully, Massachusetts laws do allow for the modification of alimony payments if either side feels it is necessary to make such a request.

Modifying spousal support payments may be somewhat challenging, but that does not mean it is an impossible task. The laws regarding alimony payments were adjusted just three years ago. New laws have reduced the length of which a payor is required to make payments. Again, this can be interpreted as a good or bad thing, depending on one’s position.

In order to successfully achieve a change in alimony payments, one of two reasons must apply to one’s situation. These are the ability to show a change in circumstances has occurred, or that the original support order was granted before the law change in 2012. For those wishing to get an updated support order due to the law change, the number of years a couple was married will determine when they will be eligible to request such a modification. If a change in circumstances is behind the request to alter an alimony order, there must be one of the following:

  • A change in financial standing
  • A death of an ex-spouse
  • Proof that the payee is remarried or living with a significant other

There certainly are valid reasons for needing/wanting a spousal support modification. If requested, this is not something that is usually decided immediately after filing, so the terms of the standing order are still to be followed until a new ruling is granted. A Massachusetts family law attorney can assist in filing a petition for alimony modification by helping to establish sufficient cause, and by representing the position of the client in court.

Source: mass.gov, “Changing Your Alimony“, Accessed on June 15, 2015

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