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Can You Modify Alimony Arrangements?

Alimony (called spousal maintenance in Minnesota) arrangements are common when there is a significant gap in earning capacity between divorcing spouses. The divorce decree will contain information specific to spousal maintenance that defines how much will be paid and when those payments will be due each month. It will also define how long spousal maintenance will be paid—there may be a specific end date, or it may end upon remarriage of the recipient spouse.

Like some other issues related to divorce, alimony arrangements can be revisited and modified after the fact, so long as the person petitioning for the adjustment is able to prove a substantial change of circumstances necessitating the modification. Here’s some information you should know.

What makes for a substantial change of circumstances?

Let’s say you have a spouse paying spousal maintenance who is no longer able to afford their payments. This spouse would need to file a motion in court to reduce the spousal maintenance amounts or terminate the spousal maintenance altogether. They would need to prove there has been a significant change in their financial circumstances, such as the loss of a job, a cut in wages, a disability or illness that impacts their ability to work or an illness or disability of another family member they are supporting.

Another example could be a change in the circumstances of the recipient spouse’s life. The person paying spousal maintenance might argue that a significant increase in wages could make spousal maintenance no longer necessary, or the recipient spouse’s expenses have been reduced because of co-habitation or other changes in living situation.

For more information about how to petition for a change in an spousal maintenance agreement, contact an experienced Minnesota divorce lawyer at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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