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Is post-divorce modification possible in Virginia?

When a couple decides that they are no longer able to stay married one spouse often has to pay alimony. The amount is dependent on whether there were children, what the lifestyle was, whether the receiving spouse is able to pay for his or her own upkeep, as well as other factors. Some might be under the impression that the payments will last forever and are unchangeable. This, however, is not the case and state law allows for changes to be made.

If either party petitions for changes to what is paid, the amount can be raised, lowered or ended completely. This depends on the circumstances. There must be evidence for the post-divorce modification to be made. If there is evidence presented that the receiving spouse is living with another person in a relationship that is a marriage in every way but legally for at least one year or more after July 1, 1997, the support will be terminated, except in one of the two following instances: if it was stipulated in the contract or if the spouse receiving payments shows a preponderance of the evidence that terminating the support would be unfair.

The court is able to increase, decrease or end the award entirely. This can be done if there was a change in the situations of either party that was not in effect at the time of the award, or if there was an event that the court anticipated would happen while the award was in effect and doesn't happen through the fault of the recipient of the award. This applies for the amount of time the person was receiving maintenance and the amount he or she was being paid.

There are specific legal reasons why alimony and other forms of support given to a former spouse are made in certain amounts for a specified duration. If there is a desire or need for post-divorce modification, it is possible with proper legal foundation.

Source:, "20-109. Changing maintenance and support of a spouse," accessed on Feb. 17, 2015

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