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Modification of Maintenance Award

Maintenance is money paid by one spouse to another after a divorce. Maintenance can be temporary, and it is known as “Pendente Lite” maintenance. A temporary maintenance order lasts until a final order of maintenance is issued by the court. In contrast, a final order of maintenance can be either durational or nondurational. A durational maintenance order will last for a fixed period, while a nondurational maintenance order will last for a lifetime.

The divorcing spouses may want to adjust the maintenance orders after their divorce is finalized. This request for adjustment is possible. The ex-spouse requesting a change bears the burden of proof to show “a substantial change in circumstances.”  Usually, the court will re-examine the maintenance or alimony orders if there is a necessary proof of a substantial change in circumstances. The ex-spouse can show a job change or an extreme financial hardship to qualify a “substantial change in circumstance.” For example, if the paying ex-spouses become seriously ill and loses their jobs, or if the receiving spouses find a new job that substantially increases their salaries, these changes would qualify a substantial change in circumstances. In contrast, a reduction in wages is not sufficient to prove a substantial change. The court will assume that the previous maintenance order is fair when it was given, and thus, if the court does not see a substantial change, the court will keep the previous order.

The request for a maintenance modification can be costly. It will take you time and resources to provide evidence. Ex-spouses seeking to change maintenance orders are strongly advised to seek legal assistance from a New York divorce attorney. Please feel free to call Gordon Diefenbach, an attorney in Manhattan who has been handling these kinds of cases for nearly 30 years for a free assessment. The 24-Hour Hotline is (917) 734-7111. We will either speak with you the moment you call or return your call within a matter of hours.

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