Divorce is financially difficult, and sometimes the toll it takes can be long lasting. In some cases, it turns out that the spousal maintenance that the judge ordered isn’t an appropriate amount—and that can be the case whether you are the payer or the recipient.

How to Modify Alimony

Spousal maintenance, which many people refer to as “alimony,” can be temporary or permanent under Minnesota law. Generally, even “permanent” spousal maintenance comes to an end, such as when the recipient gets married or experiences a significant increase in income.

In spite of the temporary nature of alimony, sometimes situations arise that make it necessary for one party to request a change in the ordered amount. However, requesting a change isn’t a simple process—and it requires that the circumstances be drastic enough to make the original order unreasonable.

Most people find that it’s easiest to work with an experienced post-decree motion attorney who thoroughly understands Minnesota law. This alleviates the pressure of filing paperwork alone, representing yourself in court, and figuring out how to prove that you’ve experienced a change in circumstances.

Why Modify?

There are several reasons one or both parties may feel that the spousal maintenance they pay or receive is unfair, including:

  • A substantial increase or decrease in either party’s income. A payer who lost his or her job, for example, may not be able to reasonably meet their alimony obligations. On the other hand, a financial windfall for one of the parties may make spousal support unnecessary. Retirement can also fall under this category.
  • A substantial change in one of the party’s needs. In many cases, financial strains such as medical bills can make paying alimony difficult; in others, an accident, injury or illness may render the recipient unable to work.
  • When one of the parties begins to receive public assistance. Because many forms of public assistance can be counted as income, that may change the amount of spousal maintenance that is necessary.

A change in the cost of living might also necessitate a change in the amount of alimony that you pay or receive. No matter why, though, the changes must be substantial. The burden of proof lies on the person requesting the change.

The sooner you file a motion, the better. That’s because in many cases, a judge will order retroactive payments based on the date the motion was served.

Alimony Modification Questions?

Whether you’re paying too much, or you aren’t receiving enough spousal maintenance, we may be able to help. Call us at (763) 783-5146 to schedule a confidential case evaluation.