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Is it time to review and modify your spousal support order?

Not many aspects of the divorce are as contentious as spousal support. This is especially true because it can have a long-term financial impact on both parties. 

While the circumstances under which spousal support is awarded vary from case to case, it helps to note that this order is never cast in stone. Subject to changes in circumstances, either party may petition for a modification of the existing spousal support order. But exactly when can this happen?

Understanding the grounds for spousal support modification

Spousal support orders are generally bound by some sort of time frame. However, the court appreciates that circumstances may change over time to necessitate a modification. Depending on these changes in circumstances, the spousal support order may be revised downward or upward. 

Here are situations that might warrant a modification of the spousal order:

  • An involuntary loss of employment or a general change in income
  • An illness or disability that prevents you from working
  • An unanticipated financial emergency 
  • The receiving party’s willful failure to acquire the skills necessary to become self-sufficient

The court may not be open to the idea of modifying spousal support if either party intentionally left their job or decreased their income to avoid paying or demand more support. Likewise, the court may not grant a modification if spousal support was included in the property division order. For instance, if one spouse agrees to cede more property to the other so they do not have to pay spousal support, then the receiving party may not later change their mind and demand spousal support instead. 

What about a termination?

Spousal support may be terminated under certain conditions. The most obvious one is when the receiving party remarries or cohabits with a romantic partner. Spousal support also comes to an end when either party is deceased. 

Indiana might have no law on spousal maintenance. If you have a spousal support matter to deal with, it is important to understand whether you have valid grounds for modification.