Often when a couple gets a divorce, the terms for alimony (spousal maintenance) are defined by the divorce decree. But the terms of maintenance as set forth in the divorce decree are not necessarily ironclad and can be changed under a few different circumstances.
What Is Substantial and Continuing Change?
The most common means of maintenance modification comes when one party experiences what is called a “substantial and continuing change” in their lifestyle that makes the previous maintenance terms unconscionable. In layman’s terms, something came up and the old agreement is now unfair. It can be long-term job loss, career changes, remarriage, having to care for an elderly family member or perhaps becoming developing a disability.
However, just because you have undergone a substantial and continuing change does not guarantee that spousal maintenance can be modified. When you create your divorce agreement, maintenance is something you are going to have to discuss with your spouse. Depending on how your divorce progresses and the terms you set with your spouse, you can restrict the court’s ability to grant a maintenance modification. If your agreement declares that maintenance cannot be modified, the courts can’t do anything about it ”“ but you may be able to find a way around this by reading the direct language of your agreement. Loopholes can exist that grant the courts’ jurisdiction to modify maintenance.
Discuss Modification with an Attorney
If a modification is something you wish to pursue, you will want to discuss it with an attorney who can help you request a hearing on your motion for modification. Often, courts will deny motions that do not involve a hearing.
Our Denver divorce attorneys will tailor action plans to secure the best outcome to your divorce case.