When might spousal support be modified or terminated?
When might spousal support be modified or terminated? Spousal support is modifiable depending on which category of spousal support you have compensatory, transitional, or the most common maintenance. They can be modified under certain circumstances. Modification of a maintenance award can happen anytime there's been a substantial and unanticipated change in financial circumstances that was not anticipated at the time of the original award. Your original award is going to dictate a lot of what you can do as far as spousal support modification.
If your judgment is silent entirely on when spousal support might be modified, then anytime there's been a substantial and unanticipated change in circumstances, judgments vary, and they may have things such as retirement is not a substantial change. We're anticipating that. Or it may say that retirement is a substantial change, but what we're looking at is what's happened since the time of the original award, not what happened before. So we're looking at factors that happen after the award came out, and then is it unanticipated. On top of that is it substantial?
So a minor increase in income, say a 3% raise, may not rise to the level of a modification of spousal support. Termination of spousal support works much the same way. What does the original award say about when it terminates? Has there been a substantial change, say a loss of employment, perhaps somebody got hurt, income is down? Or is the income of the receiving spouse much, much higher than it was at the time of the original award? So what we're looking at when we modify spousal support, what does the judgment say? What did we anticipate at that time, and has there been a change? If so, is that change substantial.