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Spousal support modifications in Massachusetts

Divorce may be the end of your marriage, but in many cases it is not the end of your relationship with your former spouse — at least, not legally speaking. Many divorces conclude with a judge handing down some form of decree that lays out guidelines for spousal support obligations.

Unfortunately, many divorced couples soon find that the terms of these orders do not function for their circumstances. There are many reasons this might occur. A sudden decrease in income could make alimony unsustainable.

If you find yourself facing a support order that you cannot live with, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that Massachusetts does offer legal processes for post-divorce modifications. The bad news is that modifying a support order requires following very strict requirements and guidelines.

Don't gamble with your future

While it is not required for you to work with an attorney, it is wise to get the guidance you need to maximize your chances of obtaining the modification you need. An experienced attorney who understands how to navigate Massachusetts' modification process can help ensure that you make the most of your time and resources.

An attorney is also an invaluable resource for determining the strength of your basis for requesting a modification. You certainly don't want to jump through the hoops of petitioning a court for a decree modification only to find that a judge denies your request because your grounds do not justify the modification in the eyes of the court.

Common justifications for modification

While it is never wise to assume that your modification is a sure thing without proper legal counsel, if your circumstances match one or more of these common reasons for modification, you may approach the situation more confidently.

When a court hands down a decree for some form of support, they do so based on the resources of the individual supplying the support, and in some cases, the need of the party receiving the support.

If your circumstances change drastically and you suddenly have much less income or significantly greater expenses beyond your control, a court may modify your support obligations to something more manageable.

Similarly, if you provide spousal support and your former spouse's circumstances change significantly for the better, a court may decide you no longer owe them ongoing support. Likewise, a supported former spouse who remarries generally terminates a support agreement, although there are some extreme circumstances where this termination is not automatic.

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