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When can alimony be modified or terminated in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2022 | Family Law |

There are many issues that need to be settled as part of a Pennsylvania divorce case. One that inevitably stokes tension is alimony. Even after the determination has been made as to how much will be paid and for how long, it is not necessarily permanent. In addition to the potential time limitations on how long it will be paid, the circumstances might warrant a modification of the amount or even a termination. This can be requested by either side. Understanding the law under these instances is key.

Key points about changing or ending alimony

From the perspective of the paying or receiving spouse, the amount and duration can be a source of discord. The paying spouse may think the payments are too much and for too long. They might believe the receiving spouse is not trying to find suitable employment. The receiving party could claim that they were limited in their opportunities because they put their training or education on hold to help the paying spouse with their career advancement and are, therefore, entitled to a certain amount. They may need a specific level of payments to maintain the lifestyle from the marriage.

The alimony award can be changed or stopped completely if the situation warrants it. The fundamental aspect of changing or terminating alimony is if there has been a change in circumstances. For example, the paying spouse—the obligor—could have a reduced or increased income. If they lost their job and are actively seeking new employment, they could ask that the alimony be lowered while they conduct their search. The same holds true if they advanced in their job.

The receiving party’s needs could also make it necessary to change the alimony. If they have a medical emergency, this could be a situation where the alimony might be adjusted. Of course, if the receiving party—the obligee—gets remarried or cohabitates with a new romantic interest, this may be justification to terminate the alimony completely.

Having professional advice may help with alimony disputes

Whether it is deciding on how much alimony will be paid while the case is in progress or striving for changes or termination in the aftermath, it is important to present the evidence and to have experienced guidance. The court will want to know why the amount should be adjusted. Those who do not want the change should also be prepared to show proof. To try and reach the desired outcome in a family law case regardless of the point of view, it is wise to have assistance throughout the process.