HomeBlogAlimony & Spousal SupportWhen Can Spousal Maintenance Be Modified?

When Can Spousal Maintenance Be Modified?

Going through a divorce can be a challenging process, and understanding the complexities of spousal maintenance is one of the many aspects that can create confusion. It is crucial for those in such situations to have clear information on when and how spousal maintenance can be modified. WARD FAMILY LAW, LLC, aims to provide an in-depth understanding of this important aspect of family law. Contact our team for a consultation where you can discuss your spousal maintenance case. 

Circumstances for Modification of Spousal Maintenance

While spousal maintenance agreements are legally binding, they are not always set in stone. There exist particular circumstances under which these arrangements can be modified. The three primary situations where modification occurs automatically are as follows.


If the recipient of the maintenance begins living with someone else in a conjugal relationship, it is considered a significant change in circumstances that warrants the termination of spousal maintenance. Cohabitation goes beyond merely sharing a living space; it involves a mutual and public assumption of marital duties and obligations. This situation does not include platonic roommates or temporary living arrangements. The court examines various factors, such as the length and nature of the relationship, the sharing of expenses, and the intertwining of finances, to determine whether a conjugal relationship exists.


Another circumstance that automatically terminates maintenance obligations is the remarriage of the recipient. When the recipient enters into a new marital contract, the previous spouse’s legal obligation to provide financial support ceases. The recipient must notify the payor at least 30 days prior to the remarriage to allow the payor time to file a motion to terminate maintenance. If the decision to marry occurs within this 30-day window, the recipient must provide at least 72-hour notice.


The unfortunate event of the death of either party involved also results in the termination of spousal maintenance. The passing of either the payor or the recipient eliminates the maintenance rights and obligations. Any payments made after the death of the recipient must be repaid by the recipient’s estate. The cessation of maintenance upon death emphasizes that spousal maintenance is a personal obligation, not one that carries over to the estates or heirs of the parties involved.

Apart from these automatic triggers, the court also has the discretion to modify spousal maintenance if there is a substantial change in either party’s financial circumstances.

Applying for Spousal Maintenance Modification

In cases where a change in circumstances warrants a modification in the spousal maintenance agreement, it is important to understand the correct procedure to follow. To initiate a modification, one must file a motion to modify spousal maintenance with the court. This motion should lay out the grounds for modification and termination.

The court then schedules a hearing where both parties present their arguments and evidence. It is at this juncture that the role of an experienced family law attorney becomes invaluable. They guide you through the process, ensuring that your case is presented effectively and accurately.

Contact Our Family Law Attorneys

Understanding when spousal maintenance can be modified is essential for those going through a divorce. It is a complex area of law that requires careful consideration of various factors. At WARD FAMILY LAW, LLC, our team of experienced attorneys is ready to guide and support you through the process. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your specific situation and explore your options for spousal maintenance modification.



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