At the time of separation and divorce, a court may order you or your spouse to make spousal support payments—also known as alimony payments—to the other. Alimony is ordered in the event that one spouse is financially dependent on the other. There are different types of spousal support, and spousal support may be ordered for various periods of time. While an order for spousal support may be appropriate at the time of divorce given the circumstances, situations can change over the years. Here’s what you should know about spousal support modifications in Massachusetts—
Can Spousal Support Be Modified?
Yes, an order for spousal support can be modified in Massachusetts. An individual may seek a modification of spousal support if they believe that a spousal support order is no longer fair, just, or appropriate. However, the grounds for modification of the support order must be satisfied in order for the court to grant the modification.
Grounds for a Modification of Spousal Support
In order for a court to grant a modification of a spousal support order, the party petitioning the court to make the change must be able to prove that a material change in circumstances has occurred. When talking about spousal support, this usually means that:
- There has been a significant change in the financial circumstances of either party; or
- The party who is receiving the alimony has remarried or is cohabitating with a romantic partner.
Other reasons for which your alimony order may be amended or could cease entirely are in the event that either party has died or your alimony payments were ordered before 2012. There were significant changes to spousal support laws in 2012.
The Spousal Support Modification Process
If you are seeking modification of a spousal support order, the first step is to talk to your ex. If you and your ex are in agreement about the change, you can petition the court together. If one party does not want the modification to proceed, then the modification is contested and the parties will need to go to court to resolve the issue. Each party will have the opportunity to present their case and prove that a material change in circumstances has or has not occurred.
How a Family Law Attorney Can Help
When you’re seeking an order for a modification of spousal support, particularly an order that’s contested, having an attorney on your side can prove helpful. Your attorney can help you to gather the information you need to prove that a change in circumstances has occurred and the modification is fair and just. Your attorney can also represent you in negotiations with your ex and present your case before the court.
Call Attorney Heather M. Ward Today
At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our family law attorney has the experience that your case deserves. For help with your spousal support modification case, call Attorney Heather M. Ward directly today. You can reach our law office at (617) 903-8955 or online.