In most instances, the marriage contract is not only a promise to love, honor, and cherish your chosen mate until the end of life, but it is also a legal obligation to support one another. Often, this obligation does not end when the marriage does, and one spouse is ordered by the court to continue offering financial support to the other. This is known as alimony. As any alimony lawyer can tell you, there are not many ways in which alimony can be discharged. If you have questions about alimony and change in financial situation, give the law offices of Boston Divorce Lawyer Doug Lovenberg a call.


Can Alimony Orders Be Discharged?

Even if one were to file bankruptcy, they would still be responsible for any court-ordered alimony payments. There are, however, some ways in which alimony may be discharged. If the spouse who is receiving the alimony should remarry, then the alimony would be discharged, as it would be if the payor were to die. In some cases, the payments may reach full reimbursement or rehabilitation of the payee and the alimony would be discharged.  If the payee cohabitates with another, even without marriage, alimony payments could be affected.  Alimony payments cannot be discharged simply because the payor claims that it is a financial hardship for him or her to pay them. In most states, unless both parties agree on a modification, there must be a substantial change in the financial situation of the payor, or a substantial change in need for the courts to consider modifying an alimony agreement.


Can Alimony Change Without Modification?

There are several reasons that a court may agree to modify the terms of an alimony agreement. There are still other reasons that alimony payments may be modified by the original divorce decree, or simply change without modification. For example, there may be a Cost of Living clause in your decree which means that any alimony or spousal support payments will increase annually to adjust for the cost of living. A similar clause is the Escalator Clause, which makes sure that the payee’s alimony payment increases with the payor’s salary. If the payor gets a raise, so does the alimony payee.


When Can Alimony Payments be Modified?

As mentioned above, alimony payments can be modified by the courts if a substantial change in circumstances can be shown. If the payor suffers a serious illness, loss of work, or other conditions which cause him or her to have a temporary hardship, then alimony payments may be modified to accommodate those circumstances. On those same terms, if the payee becomes sick, loses a job, or suffers another type of financial hardship, the courts may increase the amount of alimony that the payor must give, until the payee is back on his or her feet. If the payee receives a large increase in his or her own income, then the payor can petition the courts to lower his or her financial obligations as well. Alimony payments can also be modified by a change in the laws. If you have questions about modifying your alimony payments, give Divorce Attorney Doug Lovenberg a call today at 617-973-9950.