When you finalize your divorce, you hope that is the last time you are in court with your ex-spouse, especially if the terms of the divorce were contested and difficult to negotiate. However, a substantial change in circumstances may allow your spouse to take you back to court to modify your divorce decree.
The good news is that the courts typically do not modify the terms of the original property division settlement. Most petitions to modify filed by an Illinois divorce attorney concern custody, child support, maintenance or visitation.
It has been a few years since your divorce. During that time, you have been diligently working seven days a week to improve your business. Finally, your business is beginning to take off. You have new customers and new streams of income that are significantly increasing your profits. Your hard work and dedication have paid off in the form of higher profits from a successful and growing business enterprise.
Suddenly, your ex-spouse who wanted nothing to do with your company when it was struggling and barely breaking even has hired an Illinois divorce attorney because he or she wants to share your success. Your ex-spouse expects to benefit from your hard work and your success even though you have been divorced for several years. Can your ex-spouse file a petition to modify the property settlement agreement to benefit from your success after the divorce was final?
As discussed above, the majority of petitions to modify divorce judgments filed by an Illinois divorce attorney have nothing to do with property settlement agreements. In general, when a judge approves a property settlement agreement or issues an order for equitable distribution, the matter is non-modifiable.
Property settlement agreements are typically not subject to modification. Therefore, the fact that you are now enjoying success in your business should not have any impact on your property settlement agreement.
Alimony (also known as “maintenance”) payments can be modified after the final divorce decree, unless the marital settlement agreement provides otherwise. If you were ordered to pay spousal support in your divorce decree, your ex-spouse could hire an Illinois divorce attorney to file a petition requesting an increase in the amount of spousal support. However, your ex-spouse has the burden of proving that he or she is legally entitled to an increase in support.
Most courts are hesitant to grant an increase in spousal support based solely on the increase in your income or resources. You have the right to move on with your life after your divorce to enjoy the success derived from your hard work, efforts, and talents.
Your ex-spouse likely must prove that he or she has experienced an increase in the cost of necessary living expenses (not wants) to justify an increase in alimony. Your spouse must also prove that you can afford to pay more money. The fact that your ex-spouse desires more money because you have more money should not be sufficient evidence to justify an increase in maintenance.
If your ex-spouse is demanding more alimony because your business is more profitable, contact the Illinois divorce attorneys at the Goodman Law Firm to discuss the details of your situation.
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