Can Alimony Be Changed in Connecticut?

  •   |   Meghan Freed

Updated November 27, 2023

A very common question is whether can alimony be changed in Connecticut after a divorce is final.  In other words, can you do a post judgment alimony modification?

Are you currently paying or receiving alimony in Connecticut and wondering if there’s a way to modify the terms? Well, you’re in the right place! In this article, we will explore your options for modifying alimony in Connecticut.

Once the divorce settlement and alimony terms are in place, it might seem like there’s no way to change them. However, that’s not always the case. Connecticut law does allow for the modification of alimony under certain circumstances.

Whether you’re facing financial challenges, a significant change in your income, or your ex-spouse’s financial situation has drastically improved, understanding your options for modifying alimony can provide you with much-needed relief. By exploring the Connecticut laws and guidelines, you can gain clarity on the process and requirements for modifying alimony.

So, if you’re ready to take control of your financial future and potentially modify your alimony terms, continue reading to learn more about the options available to you in Connecticut.

Understanding Alimony in Connecticut

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a financial payment one spouse makes to the other after divorce or separation. Its purpose is to provide financial assistance to the recipient spouse, who may have become economically dependent during the marriage. In Connecticut, judges can award alimony on a temporary or permanent basis, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

To understand the options for modifying alimony in Connecticut, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the state’s laws regarding alimony. Connecticut follows a set of guidelines that help determine the amount and duration of alimony payments. These guidelines take into account various factors such as the length of the marriage, the income and earning capacity of each spouse, the age and health of the parties involved, and the standard of living established during the marriage.  Your best source for how all this might play our in your situation is to speak with an experienced family law attorney.

Read: Alimony: The Comprehensive Connecticut Guide

Factors that May Warrant Change or Modification of Alimony

While alimony is typically awarded based on the circumstances at the time of the divorce, certain factors can warrant a modification of the alimony terms. These factors include a significant change in either spouse’s financial situation, a substantial increase or decrease in income, the remarriage or cohabitation of the recipient spouse, or the occurrence of unforeseen circumstances that make it unreasonable for the alimony order to remain unchanged.

It’s important to note that not all changes in circumstances will automatically lead to a modification of alimony. The court will evaluate each case individually and consider whether the change is significant enough to warrant a modification. It’s advisable to consult with a family law attorney who can assess your situation and advise you on the likelihood of obtaining a modification.

Substantial Change in Circumstances

The court cannot order alimony in the future if alimony if didn’t order alimony in the divorce.  If it was, the next question is whether the divorce order specifically prohibits modification of alimony.  In cases where the order is silent on modification, alimony may be increased, decreased, or eliminated when there is a substantial change in circumstances of either ex-spouse.

To determine whether there has been a substantial change in circumstances, courts compare the circumstances at the time of the last alimony order with circumstances at the time that a party seeks a modification.  A minor income fluctuation alone generally isn’t a “substantial change in circumstances.”  Also, an increase in the income of the alimony payor alone generally isn’t enough to modify an alimony award upward.

Original Alimony Factors Apply

If the court finds there was a substantial change in circumstances, it applies the original alimony factors.

Read: What Factors Are Considered When Determining Alimony in a Connecticut Divorce?

Remarriage and Cohabitation

Many people assume that alimony automatically ends when the alimony recipient moves in with or marries a new partner.  This is not the case, unless the court order from the divorce says so.

Read: How Do Remarriage or Cohabitation Impact Alimony in Connecticut?

How to Request a Change in Alimony

If you believe that your alimony terms should be modified, the first step is to file a motion with the court requesting the modification. You’ll need to provide evidence supporting your claim for modification, such as financial documents, employment records, or any other relevant information that demonstrates the change in circumstances.

The court will then review your motion and consider the evidence presented. It’s important to present a compelling argument and provide all necessary documentation to increase your chances of a successful modification. Having the guidance and representation of an experienced family law attorney can be invaluable during this process, as they can help you navigate the legal complexities and advocate for your interests.

The Process of Modifying Alimony in Connecticut

The process of modifying alimony in Connecticut involves several steps. Once you file a motion for modification, the court will schedule a hearing to review your case. During the hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to present their arguments and evidence. The court will consider all relevant factors and make a decision based on what it deems fair and reasonable.

It’s important to note that you may be able to appeal the court’s decision if you believe there was an error in the ruling. However, appealing a decision can be a complex and lengthy process.  It’s also possible to ask the family court to reconsider its decision.

Types of Modifications that Courts Can Make to Alimony

There are several types of modifications Connecticut family courts may have the discretion to make.  These include a decrease in the amount of alimony, a change in the duration of alimony payments, or a termination of alimony altogether. The specific modification will depend on the circumstances of the case and the factors the judge considers.

For example, if the paying spouse experiences a significant decrease in income, they may request a decrease in alimony payments. Conversely, if the recipient spouse’s financial situation improves, the paying spouse may seek a termination of alimony.

Common Reasons for Seeking a Change to Alimony

There are several common reasons why individuals seek a modification of alimony in Connecticut. One common reason is a significant change in financial circumstances. For example, if the paying spouse loses their job, experiences health issues, or retires, they may struggle to meet their alimony obligations. In such cases, they may seek a modification to ensure that the alimony payments are more manageable given their current financial situation.

Another common reason for seeking a modification is a substantial increase in the recipient spouse’s income. If the recipient spouse secures a higher-paying job or experiences a significant improvement in their financial situation, the paying spouse may argue that alimony is no longer necessary or should be reduced.

The Court’s Role In Modifying Alimony

When it comes to modifying alimony in Connecticut, the court plays a crucial role.

While it’s possible to reach an out-of-court agreement with your spouse about changes to alimony, it is critical to submit that agreement to the court so that you have an enforceable court order.  This can happen via mediation, collaborative practice, or settlement discussions during litigation.

The court’s primary objective is to ensure that any modifications made to alimony are fair and reasonable based on the circumstances. If you and your ex don’t agree, the court will carefully review the evidence presented, consider the factors outlined in the state’s guidelines, and make a decision that aligns with the best interests of both parties.

It’s important to note that the court has the authority to deny a modification request if it determines that the change in circumstances is not significant or if it believes that the modification is not justified. This is why it’s crucial to present a strong case and provide compelling evidence to support your request for modification.

Importance of Legal Representation in Modifying Alimony

Modifying alimony in Connecticut can be a complex and challenging process. It’s essential to have the guidance and representation of an experienced family law attorney who can navigate the legal intricacies and advocate for your interests. An attorney will ensure that your motion for modification is properly filed, help you gather the necessary evidence, negotiate on your behalf, and present a persuasive argument to the court.

Furthermore, an attorney can provide invaluable advice on the likelihood of obtaining a modification based on the specific circumstances of your case. They can help you understand the factors that the judge will consider and guide you through each step of the process, from filing the motion to representing you at court hearings.

Next Steps

Changing alimony in Connecticut is possible under certain circumstances, and understanding your options is crucial if you’re facing financial challenges or significant changes in your income. By familiarizing yourself with the state’s laws and guidelines, consulting with an experienced family law attorney, and presenting a strong case to the court, you can increase your chances of obtaining a modification that aligns with your current financial situation.

Remember, modifying alimony is not always a straightforward process, and the court’s decision will ultimately depend on the specific circumstances of your case. It’s essential to consult with an attorney who can guide you through the process and provide you with the support and representation you need to achieve a favorable outcome.

If you are deciding whether to seek to reduce or eliminate your obligation to pay alimony, it’s important to have an experienced divorced legal team review and determine what specific orders already exist.  Similarly, if your former spouse is trying to modify or terminate alimony payments to you, you want to have an attorney review your existing court order.

Our first step at Freed Marcroft, the Goals & Planning Conference, is designed to get to the heart of your problem and unveil your true goals.  Then, we take those goals along with the facts of your case and analyze them in light of your existing order so that we can present you with recommendations and options on how to move forward.

Schedule your Goals & Planning Conference today, or contact us either here or by phone.

Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC