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Can Spousal Support Be Changed After A Divorce?

Yes, ongoing spousal support can be changed after a divorce or dissolution in Ohio. However, the law states that in order to make a change there must be a substantial change in circumstances that “makes the existing award no longer reasonable and appropriate.” Another condition is that the change in circumstances was not taken into consideration when the original award of spousal support, sometimes referred to as alimony, was granted.

One of the most common changes in circumstances that would require a modification of spousal support payments is a change in income. An increase or involuntary decrease in wages, salary or bonuses may trigger a change in the amount of spousal support. Note that the law explicitly states an “involuntary decrease” only. If the payor quits their job on purpose or moves to a lower paying job, they may not be able to use that as a reason to request a decrease in their spousal support payments after divorce.

The law also allows for spousal support modifications in the event of changes to living expenses or medical expenses. For example, if one of the parties experiences a medical emergency or is diagnosed with a medical condition that will have a substantial financial impact, that may be reason to request a change in alimony payments.

Depending on the situation, the modification could entail an increase in spousal support payments, a decrease, a change in duration or a stop to payments altogether.

The parties involved may also reach an agreement about a change to alimony payments. If both parties agree to the change, it may not have to meet the criteria discussed above. The parties should, however, formalize the change with the court in order to protect themselves from liability. If an informal agreement is made and never filed with the court, one party may still be able to claim that the other did not make payment and the alleged non-paying party could be found to be in contempt of court.