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How does one request a spousal support modification?

If you pay alimony or receive alimony in Boulder County, Colorado, you may feel it's time to change the amount paid or received. Payers often wish to lower the amount paid, while recipients often want to raise it. Regardless of the exact circumstances, you may believe that a change is in order. How does a divorced person request a spousal support modification from a Colorado court?

First, as you might expect, there must be an existing court order that deals with the issue of spousal maintenance. For a petitioner to be eligible for a modification, a court must find that substantial changes in circumstances have happened that warrant a modification. Usually, courts are reluctant to modify an alimony order after it has been issued. This is one way in which alimony differs from child support. It is often easier to get a modification of child support obligations than a modification of alimony obligations.

The person requesting a modification should file a motion with the court to modify the alimony decree in the desired manner. The motion should be supported by evidence showing that substantial changes in circumstances have occurred and these warrant updating the alimony decree. Within 49 days of the court filing, the court will decide whether to schedule further proceedings or whether the case can be handled solely by the information it obtained from the court filings.

The court will eventually make a decision and issue an order. If the court order terminates a party's maintenance obligation, that party can take it to their employer to halt an income assignment.

Drawing up modification motions and dealing with the court can be complicated tasks. Many parties choose to use the services of a family law attorney to handle the process.

Source: State of Colorado Judicial Department, "Instructions to File a Motion or Stipulation to Modify or Terminate Maintenance (Spousal/Partner Support)," accessed on April 30, 2016

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