Should you modify your alimony payments?

Your financial situation and life circumstances are always subject to change. Family courts know this, and that's why your alimony judgment may not be set in stone. You might be able to apply for a modification if there is a significant change in your circumstances.

For example, if you're struggling to pay your alimony payments because you lost your job or your financial situation has changed, you might be able to get your obligations reduced. Or, if you're receiving alimony payments, and your life circumstances require more money, you might be able to get an increase in payments.

Strategies to modify your spousal support orders

Here are a few strategies that spouses can employ to change their alimony orders in Minnesota:

  • Agree with your ex-spouse to change your alimony: Reaching an out-of-court agreement with your ex to change your alimony is the best place to start. If it's clear to both spouses -- given changes in one or both of your circumstances -- that a court will agree to alter your alimony payments, you can update your agreement in an out-of-court settlement.
  • Take advantage of a cost of living adjustment clause (COLA): A cost of living adjustment clause might be included in your original divorce decree -- or in your divorce settlement agreement. This clause will allow for the automatic adjustment of your alimony payments depending on the annual increase of cost of living in the economy.
  • Take advantage of an escalator clause: Some alimony agreements and divorce decrees include escalator clauses, which allow the alimony recipient to get an automatic increase (or decrease) in payments if the payer's financial situation changes.
  • Apply for a modification based on a change in circumstances: If your financial or employment circumstances have changed substantially, this could be grounds for you to apply to the court for a modification to your spousal support payments.
  • Apply for a temporary modification: If you're experiencing a temporary change in circumstances -- perhaps due to a serious illness -- it could be grounds to apply for a temporary adjustment in payments.

More alimony modification options could be available

The above strategies are just some of the ways that a person in Minnesota may modify his or her alimony payments. With a deeper understanding of Minnesota alimony law, ex-spouses can protect their legal rights and apply for modifications when appropriate.

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