Can Spousal Support be Modified or Terminated?

Posted on June 28, 2012 by

Modification of spousal support and termination of spousal support are treated differently by the courts, so we will discuss modification of spousal support first.

The answer to the question depends on how the spousal support was established.  If a court established the spousal support award, the amount of spousal support can be modified (increased or decreased) if evidence establishes a material change in circumstances since the spousal support award and that modification is appropriate under all the circumstances.

If the spousal support was established through an agreement by the parties, the agreement controls whether the spousal support can be modified or not.  If your agreement does not address modification, i.e, if the agreement is “silent” on whether the amount or duration of spousal support can be modified, then the spousal support cannot be modified.  If the agreement addresses modification, a court can only modify the spousal support as set forth in the agreement.  For example, if the agreement says that spousal support can be increased, then the court cannot reduce the amount of spousal support.   If the agreement provides that support can be modified, a court can modify the spousal support; however, the court cannot modify spousal support based on changes that were in the contemplation of the parties at the time they entered into the agreement.  By agreement, the parties can also limit the amount by which the spousal support can be modified by the court.

By statute, spousal support is terminated when either party dies, when the party receiving spousal support remarries or when a court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the party receiving spousal support has cohabitated with another person in a situation analogous to marriage for more than one year.   Termination is different from modification when it comes to spousal support established by agreement.   As set forth above, if an agreement is silent on whether spousal support can be modified, then it cannot.  The opposite is true with respect to termination.  If the agreement does not expressly state that the termination events in the statute – death, remarriage or cohabitation – do not apply to the agreed spousal support obligation, then the termination events do apply.   The Virginia Court of Appeals has held that either the specific terminating event or events must be stated in the agreement or the statutory provision itself must be referenced in the agreement. If not, then spousal support will be terminated upon the happening of one of the terminating events.  This is true even if the parties agreement regarding spousal support says that the spousal support will not terminate for any reason.   Such language is insufficient to prevent the application of the statutory events that serve to terminate spousal support.

 

Contact Us Today
I had a personal injury case that no one else would take, except Colleen. She was sensitive, comforting, professional, and very efficient. I am so pleased with her service and I highly recommend her and her team.
Susan Oliver
Susan Oliver
2019-07-11T13:45:15+0000
Grateful to work with Colleen again on our second private adoption in 4 years! Thankful for her timeliness, effective commmunication, and outstanding staff.
Michelle Spencer
Michelle Spencer
2019-06-25T15:00:35+0000
My husband and I just recently finalized the adoption of our son thanks to Colleen! Our situation happened FAST, and Colleen never missed a beat. Colleen, Katie and Charli were all quick to answer any questions we had and made us feel confident in their ability to provide the services needed. We were blown away at the knowledge and organization Colleen had throughout this process as well! We intend to continue to grow our family through adoption again, and will be using Locke & Quinn!
Ashley Halsey
Ashley Halsey
2019-02-10T03:58:33+0000
My wife and I worked with Colleen Quinn and her paralegal Charli (CharSalle) on my daughter's international re-adoption. We are in Fairfax, VA and they were happy to work with us even though we weren’t local to them. Everything was done by email and mail. They answered all of our questions in a timely manner and were very knowledgeable about the process. We worked almost entirely with Charli after the initial emails and phone calls and she was great to work with. They filed all of our paperwork with our court, everything went smoothly, and we received our Final Order. Charli has always kept us in the loop about the process and sent us updates. We mailed original documents back and forth without any issue. Their legal fee was very competitive and better than most attorneys in our own area. We are very pleased with their work and assistance in getting our adoption finalized. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone. Thank you!
Ahmed Rashid
Ahmed Rashid
2018-12-20T14:52:57+0000
Great experience!! Everything I needed they took care of with a timely fashion! Highly recommend!
Morgan Williams Seay
Morgan Williams Seay
2018-08-21T00:14:11+0000
Bob Stiepock
Bob Stiepock
2017-10-23T19:39:04+0000
Personal Injury is a challenging event on many levels in ones life. Have you experienced a moment where you were injured and need to seek legal advice? You need to make a call to Colleen Quinn today. I began to research different law firms that handled Personal Injury. I interviewed several attorneys and spoke with large practices to small firms. I was impressed by Colleens resume and her work with women and the law. I will never regret hiring Colleen and her TEAM. The word TEAM is exactly what I received through out my case. My case was attacked with professionalism and the team was always in communication with me. When I would call to ask questions or to get a better explanation I was always made to feel as if I was the only client. As my case arrived closer to the trail date, my TEAM went into full 110%+ effort and preparation. Colleen was ALWAYS seeking to settle my case with the best outcome that she could. YOU WILL NOT FIND A MORE UPFRONT, HONEST, HARDWORKING-GET IT DONE ATTITUDE THAN THE TEAM OF COLLEEN M. QUINN!! MAKE THAT CALL TODAY-YOU WONT REGET IT!!
Lisa Moore Walker
Lisa Moore Walker
2017-09-17T03:54:10+0000
Cathy Tyree Herb
Cathy Tyree Herb
2013-07-30T17:33:44+0000

 

Google Rating
5.0