When a couple divorces, the court may direct one party to pay spousal support to the other party. Also known as spousal support, the purpose of spousal support is to help meet the receiving party’s ongoing financial needs.
However, it is important to understand that spousal support, like most family court matters, is not cast in stone. Subject to circumstances, spousal support can be revised and even terminated altogether. Here are three instances when this can happen:
When there is a mutual agreement
Spousal support can be terminated when both parties agree to it. This usually happens when the spousal support was designed to fulfill a specific goal. For instance, the court may issue a spousal support order to help them acquire the skills they need to find work, then the spousal support order can be reviewed once this goal has been met.
When the receiving party remarries or cohabits
Most often, your spousal support obligations will automatically come to an end when your ex remarries or gets into cohabitation with a romantic partner. To prove marriage, you may need to provide court records or other evidence of marriage like wedding photos. Cohabitation, on the other hand, can be quite difficult to prove. However, you can strengthen your claim by providing proof of shared household bills like utilities or a copy of the tenancy contract that bears your ex and their partner’s name.
When there are changes in financial circumstances
Generally, spousal support can be modified when there is a change in either party’s financial circumstances. Examples of changes in financial circumstances that can justify spousal support modifications include:
- An involuntary loss of income
- Development of a medical condition that prevents you from working
It is important to understand that the court will not grant spousal support modification if you deliberately quit your job or are purposefully under-employed.
The terms of the divorce are never designed to last forever. Find out how you can protect your rights and interests while petitioning the court for a spousal support modification.