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Modifying Alimony/Maintenance

Oftentimes, circumstances change following a court’s decision regarding maintenance (alimony) and modifications become necessary. If you want to request a modification of maintenance, you and your attorney will have to ask a judge, and if the judge approves, a decree of modification will be created. But there is a great deal involved with modifying maintenance and requests are not always granted.

Life is full of unexpected events, many of which can make things more difficult. Job layoffs, career changes, retirement, failing health, divorce and remarriage are all common—and often unexpected—occurrences in the lives of adults.

If you have been ordered to pay spousal support as part of your divorce decree and something has happened that affects your ability to pay the agreed upon amount of maintenance, you and your Colorado divorce lawyer may be able to take certain steps to get the amount changed to better fit your budget. The judge presiding over your case may not approve a decree of modification of spousal support, but if you have had a drastic change in income or life circumstances that have impeded your ability to pay maintenance, it will certainly be taken under advisement by the court.

If your ex has been paying spousal support and you learn that he or she has received a substantial income increase, you cannot assume you will be entitled to a modification of maintenance. The general rule of thumb is that unless the divorce decree specifically states that the amount of maintenance is to never change (called “contractual maintenance”), a court will revisit the amount ordered if there is a substantial (and continuing) change in the income of the paying spouse.

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