Hanover Alimony Modification Lawyer
Alimony refers to court-ordered financial support owed by one spouse to the other during or following divorce. Once a decision is made that alimony will be paid and about the amount of spousal support one party is obligated to pay, these payments do not generally change unless one or both parties file for a modification. There are numerous reasons why a previously ordered alimony award may need to be subsequently modified.
Whether your ex-spouse remarried, inherited assets, or you have experienced an loss of income, a Hanover alimony modification lawyer may be able to help you resolve your post-divorce financial disputes and change your prior alimony amount. With over 35 combined years of exclusive family law experience, our dedicated attorneys have the knowledge and resources to help you, whether you are seeking modification or contesting the request to modify it.
What Types of Alimony Awards Can be Modified?
Not every type of spousal support allows for judicial modification or termination. If your alimony provisions “survived” the judgment of divorce, this means that they cannot be modified no matter how the circumstances have changed since the time the order was entered. This arrangement often comes up when there is an “alimony buyout” clause or when there is a complete waiver of past, present, and future alimony. There may be some cases where it makes sense to enter into an agreement that provides for a certain amount of regular support for a specific time period and seek that the provision survives, which makes it next to impossible to modify. There are pros and cons to entering into surviving agreements, and you can trust our top-notch team of attorneys to be able to explain the positives and negatives of entering into any such agreement.
Grounds for Modifying General Spousal Support in Hanover
For marriages lasting up to twenty years, general spousal support awards usually end after a specific period determined by the marriage’s length, according to Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 208, §49. This time period is called the “alimony duration.” The Court may only award “indefinite” general alimony if the parties were married for more than 20 years. Even “indefinite” alimony awards will regularly be terminated at some point though. How the termination happens is usually laid out within a divorce agreement, but can include the payor reaching retirement age, the death of either party, or if there is a significant change in circumstances that causes a prior alimony award to justifiably be terminated. If the person receiving alimony no longer “needs” alimony, cohabitates with someone for more than three months, or the payor spouse has lost the ability to pay the prior award, the Court could either reduce the alimony amount previously ordered or terminate the award all together.
If you think your situation might justify a change in your previously established alimony order, one of our lawyers in Hanover can assist you in modifying your alimony agreement based on any of these changes.
Extending Rehabilitative Spousal Support
Besides general term alimony, there are a few other classifications of alimony a person could be eligible for. Rehabilitative alimony is one of those categories. Rehabilitative alimony is meant to provide support to one of the spouses until the recipient is able to support him or herself. Usually, the spouse receiving this type of support is undergoing some sort of job training or education that will enable him or her to obtain meaningful employment to become self-supporting. A rehabilitative alimony award automatically expires pursuant to Mass. Gen. Law §50, which is triggered by the recipient’s remarriage, a specific event that would be defined within the judgment (for example, one year from the date of the graduation), if either spouse dies, or five years from the date of the order.
There are very few exceptions to rehabilitative alimony extending past the five-year time limitation. To request an extension, the recipient spouse must be able to show the following:
- They did not remarry;
- Unforeseen events occur, such as illness or sudden job loss, that prevent the receiving spouse from achieving financial independence by the expiration of the support date, taking into consideration the overall length of the marriage;
- The recipient has made a good faith effort to become financially self-supporting, such as enrolling in school or getting a job; and
- The payor can continue to make the alimony payments without facing an undue financial burden.
Judges may periodically modify the amount of rehabilitative alimony as necessary during the allowable support period, even if the duration of the payments is not changed. One of our lawyers in the area can assist you in determining if a material change in your or your ex’s circumstances merits modifying your spousal support order.
Speak with a Hanover Alimony Modification Attorney
Paying or receiving support from a former spouse often results in additional post-marital contention. State law attempts to balance the need for financial help during transitional periods with the rights of spouses to move on after a divorce.
As circumstances change, so might alimony awards. Call our dedicated and compassionate Hanover alimony modification lawyers to discuss your situation today.