Modification of Spousal Maintenance
An order of support is always subject to being modified. If you are paying or receiving spousal maintenance, the amount of support may be adjusted upwards or downwards or even terminated. If any of the following circumstances apply to you, a modification may be warranted.
- The spouse receiving the support is unable to be self supporting
- A substantial change of circumstances
- Financial hardship
- Full or partial retirement of the spouse paying the support provided the retirement is a substantial change of circumstances
The first step in reviewing any request to modify maintenance is to determine whether the maintenance was made after a hearing or whether there is an agreement. If an agreement exists, the date of the agreement is critical, as only financial hardship will apply to older agreements.
1. Maintenance set by Court Order after a Trial
DRL 236 B (9)(b)(1) authorizes the court to end or modify any support order issued after a trial based on a showing of the following:
- the payee 's inability to be self-supporting
- a showing of a substantial change in circumstance
- a showing of financial hardship
- upon actual full or partial retirement of the payor if the retirement results in a substantial change in financial circumstances.
2. Maintenance set by an Agreement or Stipulation
Under DRL 236 B(9)(b)(1), when maintenance is set by an agreement, no modification shall be made without a showing of extreme hardship on either party. An important exception to this rule is the agreement itself, as the parties may agree to a different standard for modification.
3. Marriage of the Payee
DRL 248 provides that maintenance will terminate upon the former spouses remarriage. This is non discretionary and the termination of maintenance is required.
4. Living with someone else and holding themselves out to be spouses
DRL 248 allows the termination of maintenance at the court's discretion if it is shown that the former spouse is habitually living with someone else and holding themselves out to be their spouse.
Read More: Modification of Spousal Maintenance
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If you have have additional questions, contact our office to learn about your legal options in seeking or defending against a modification of spousal maintenance. To get your free phone consultation or to make an appointment, call (631) 864-2600. Serving clients in Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, Manhattan, Bronx, Westchester. Rockland, Orange and other surrounding counties are accepted on a case by case basis.
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