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How do I change a court order for spousal support?

How do I change a court order for spousal support?
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Reviewed: 
August 19, 2020
Answer

You or your partner may need to change your spousal support order because of changes to your situation. You must show there has been a material change in circumstances.

This means you have to show that your situation has changed so much that your order needs to be changed to deal with those changes. For example:

  • You or your partner's income has gone up or down.
  • The partner receiving spousal support should now be self-supporting.
  • The partner receiving support is re-married and support was only being paid because they were in need.
  • The arrangements about the children have changed.

Your court order may deal with these kinds of situations. For example, it might say that spousal support ends when the support recipient remarries or when the support payor retires. Or, it might say that support ends when the support recipient gets their degree or diploma if they have gone back to school.

Example: When Vidya and Ajit separated, they had three teenaged children. Vidya was entitled to both child support and spousal support. But Ajit did not earn enough to pay both. Their court order stated that when the children were grown and child support ended, spousal support would be reviewed to see if Vidya was entitled to receive it at that time.

Your court order may also have a review date. This means there is a date to look at your situation to decide if the amount of spousal support should change or end.

If your court order does not say what should happen if there are significant changes to your situation, you and your partner can agree to change your court order.

If you can't agree, you can get help from a family law professional or go to court and ask a judge to decide.

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