One common reason for requesting a modification to a Marital Settlement Agreement (“MSA”) is to change or reduce the amount of maintenance (alimony) awarded. Unless the parties have previously agreed to make maintenance payments non-modifiable, maintenance awards can be modified if the requesting party can demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances.
In determining whether there was a substantial change in circumstances, a court will consider the following factors that are set forth in Section 5/510 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act:
If you are suffering financially because you are paying too much maintenance following a decrease in income or require more support, don’t wait to request your modification. If your request is granted, it will only be retroactive to the date you filed your petition, not the date the change occurred. For example, if you lost your job on January 1 and waited until August 1 to file a petition to modify, the court can change the amount you owe in maintenance retroactively only to August 1, not January 1. Therefore, it is important to make your request as early as possible.
The willful failure to pay maintenance (alimony) can lead to contempt of court, as well as fines and interest. See our page on maintenance awards here for more information. If you are not currently paying your maintenance as ordered in your MSA, it is important to seek the advice of a good family law attorney to help you understand your legal options.
Adapt to life’s changing circumstances by contacting Goodman Law Firm and requesting a maintenance modification consultation with an experienced divorce litigator.
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