A lot can change in the months and years after your divorce, especially your finances. The spousal support arrangement you completed as part of the dissolution of marriage process may no longer be sufficient, and there are options for making adjustments. You can trust a Virginia divorce lawyer can tell you whether spousal support modification is appropriate, but some general information can help you learn more.
Virginia Law on Spousal Support Modification
Under Virginia divorce law, spousal support can be increased, decreased, or terminated completely if the parties’ circumstances change. Both the person receiving support and the spouse paying it can request modification of the support amount. However, if you executed a settlement agreement as part of your divorce, there must be some provision allowing for future modification; if your agreement does not permit changes to the agreement, a court doesn’t have authority to modify it.
When to Consider Requesting Support Modification
In order to establish your claim for modifying spousal support, you’ll need to show that you’ve experienced a material change your circumstances that was not contemplated when the support order was issued. Some examples include:
- You or your ex-spouse became unemployed;
- The person paying spousal support becomes incapacitated or disabled;
- The payor is injured or experienced medical problems; and
- The person receiving spousal support remarries or cohabitates with another person.
In addition, if employment conditions have changed for you or your ex-spouse, you might qualify to modify spousal support arrangement. However, if there is a change of work hours or assignment that increases or decreases earnings, the change must be 15 percent to 20 percent.
Terms of the Modified Spousal Support Arrangement
If the court grants a petition for modification of the spousal support, the new arrangement will be based on the same factors involved with the original order. The court looks at:
- The income of the parties;
- The parties’ standards of living;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age, physical conditions, and mental capabilities of the parties; and,
- Many other factors established by law.
Talk to a Virginia Divorce Attorney
When circumstances change after you’ve dissolved your marriage and you’re having a hard time making ends meet, consult with a divorce lawyer about a spousal support modification. Virginia law covers such situations, but it’s smart to have a qualified legal advocate on your side. The attorneys at Shannon & Associates, P.C. have helped many clients modify spousal support arrangements, so please contact our or call us at (757) 228-5529 for more information.