Following a divorce, the court may order that one spouse pay a monthly support payment to their former spouse as a way of helping each party become self-sufficient following the split. A number of factors go into the award amount, but the point of spousal maintenance is to ensure that both parties come out of the split with the financial means to support themselves.
However, circumstances can always change, and the factors that go into a monthly spousal maintenance award can be influenced by these changes. For example, maybe you lost your job, or your spouse got a raise and is making more money. These factors and more can impact how much you need to pay in spousal maintenance each month, but how do you go about modifying your previous agreement? We explain how we can help you modify your spousal support payments in today’s blog.
Terminating Alimony Payments in Illinois
For starters, it’s worth noting that even if you are in the process of modifying or terminating your spousal maintenance award, you must continue to pay the original agreed upon amount until a new agreement is finalized by the court. Even if things change, you owe the original amount until a modification has been granted.
Before we get into modifying a spousal support award, let’s first look at the changes that would allow for a complete termination of any payment. Under Illinois law, there are three grounds for automatic spousal support termination. They are:
- Cohabitation – If your former spouse cohabits with a new partner (not just a roommate), your family law lawyer may be able to have your support payments terminated.
- Remarriage – If your former spouse is getting remarried, they are required to let you know at least 30 days in advance if possible so you can file your motion to terminate payments on the basis of remarriage. If they do not meet this first deadline, they are required to inform their former spouse of their new marriage within 72 hours of getting remarried so the motion can be filed.
- Death of Either Spouse – Finally, the death of either spouse terminates the spousal support agreement.
Changing A Current Agreement
There are a number of changes that can allow you to file for a reduction your spousal maintenance payments. They include but are not limited to:
- Change in employment status of either party.
- Failure of spouse to make “reasonable efforts” to become self-sufficient.
- Impairment to your ability to earn money.
- Increase or decrease in income of either party.
- The tax consequences of payments by payers.
- Property received or acquired since the original order.
Payments are designed to help the other party become self-sufficient, not to fund a certain lifestyle. If you believe that your ex is failing to live up to their obligations to become self-sufficient, or they have started to earn more money, talk to a family law attorney about filing a motion to modify your obligation. Your original agreement was put in place when specific conditions existed, so when things change, you have the right to seek a modification.
At Appelman & Lloyd, we’ve helped numerous individuals save themselves money each month by successfully negotiating a change in a previously agreed upon maintenance award. If you believe your spousal support amount needs to be modified because of a change in circumstances, give Brett Appelman and his team a call today.