Spousal support is often awarded as part of an Ohio divorce. While there is a set amount when the case is concluded, that does not mean it must remain the same indefinitely. People confronted with life changes can request there be a modification to the amount that was initially ordered. This, however, is based on various factors. Whether it is the paying former spouse or a receiving former spouse who wants the order changed, it is imperative to understand the law from the outset.
When can the spousal support order be changed?
For many couples, there is a stipulation in the divorce or dissolution decree that says the court is authorized to modify an order for spousal support. Spousal support was previously referred to as alimony. For those whose marriage ended between May 2, 1986 and Jan. 1, 1991 and alimony was ordered, or if a spousal support order was made after Jan. 1, 1991, the amount can be modified if either side shows there was a change in circumstances that warrants it.
Examples of a suitable change in circumstances include the income of one party or the other substantially increasing or decreasing; living expenses rising; or there being medical expenses. There are two fundamental requirements that must be met for the change to be deemed necessary. First, the change in circumstances must be substantial and make the current award unreasonable or inappropriate. Second, it must not have been considered by the spouses or the court when the initial award was made or modified. It is irrelevant whether it was possible to foresee the situation changing. The parties can agree on their own to modify an existing agreement.
There are keys to seeking a spousal support modification
Family law can be complicated and that is especially true when asking that an existing order be modified. The current situation across the nation has negatively impacted people’s finances in many ways. Some have lost their jobs or had a major drop in income; others have had massive medical expenses; and costly adaptations have been necessary. No matter the reason for the requested modification to a spousal support order, the first step is to know when and how it can be done. Having professional guidance can be helpful to achieve the desired goal.