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When there is a divorce in Ohio, it is common for one former spouse to pay spousal support (previously referred to as alimony) to the other. However, the amount that is paid can be in dispute. The paying spouse and the receiving spouse will often have a certain expectation as to how much will be paid. This can be a source of acrimony if either side wants to change the order. For these issues – especially in a high-asset divorce – it is wise to have legal advice.

Knowing when changed circumstances will be a factor

The initial determination hinges on various circumstances including the duration of the marriage, the lifestyle the couple had during the marriage, if the receiving spouse is capable of self-support, and more. Even after the order has been made, there is a chance that it can be modified. This is when it is important to understand what is meant by changed circumstances.

Generally, the court that entered the divorce decree cannot modify the support order without a change in circumstances. If the case has a provision allowing the court to modify it, then it can be changed. There are some issues that arise frequently and may be categorized as a change in circumstances sufficient to warrant modification. If there has been a decrease or increase in wages, income, living costs or medical expenses, the order can be modified.

It must be a substantial change rendering the award that was previously made insufficient. The sides must not have considered the possibility of the current circumstances when the order was made or previously changed. The reasoning for the original order or an agreement between the parties from when the award was initially made will be factored in by the court when deciding if there should be a modification.

Legal assistance may be necessary for a modification of spousal support

There is broad meaning with the term “change in circumstances” in the context of spousal support. This does not mean that the changes cannot be made if they are necessary. Assessing the finances and if the previous amount is a vital part of the spousal support award being modified. Having legal advice is a fundamental part of modifying the order. This is true from the perspective of the paying spouse and the receiving spouse. For modification of spousal support based on changed circumstances, calling for a legal consultation is key.