Can Alimony Be Increased After Divorce: 5 Shocking Reasons!

Can alimony be increased after divorce? The answer is yes, but it’s more complex than it may seem. In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore the various aspects of alimony, including when and how it can be modified or increased. 

Divorce is a challenging and often emotionally charged process. Apart from the emotional turmoil, financial matters like alimony come into play, which can further complicate the situation.

Alimony, also known as spousal and child support, is a legal commitment for one spouse to provide financial support to the other, especially when there’s a significant income disparity.

In this article, we’ll explore the possibility of increasing alimony after a divorce. While alimony is typically determined during divorce proceedings, various circumstances can lead to a need for modification or even an increase in the alimony payments.

Whether you’re a paying spouse or a recipient of alimony, understanding the legal framework and the circumstances that warrant a modification is crucial.

So, let’s delve into the world of alimony and discover the five shocking reasons why it can be increased after a divorce.

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Can Alimony Be Increased After Divorce?

Yes, alimony can be increased after a divorce, but it’s not an automatic process. Some specific legal procedures and conditions must be met for alimony to be modified or increased.

The court will carefully consider the circumstances and make a decision based on the best interests of both parties involved.

Understanding Alimony and Its Purpose

Before we delve into the reasons for increasing alimony, let’s first understand the concept of alimony and why it exists. 

Alimony or spousal support is designed specially to support the lower-earning partner maintain a standard of living similar to what they enjoyed during the marriage.

The amount of alimony is determined by considering either the “need” of the recipient or a percentage (usually 30-35%) of the difference between the gross incomes of both parties. This means that alimony payments are limited to whichever amount is lower.

By taking into account the financial situation and needs of each individual, this approach aims to strike a fair balance. 

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When Is Alimony Awarded?

Alimony is typically awarded in cases where one spouse has significantly higher income and financial resources than the other. It aims to provide financial support to the lower-earning spouse, helping them transition into a financially stable post-divorce life.

The Role of Family Law

Family law governs the rules and regulations surrounding alimony. Each state may have slightly different laws, so it’s essential to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer who is well-versed in your state’s specific family law statutes.

When Can You Modify Alimony?

Alimony orders are not set in stone and can be modified under certain circumstances. To seek a modification or an increase in alimony, you’ll need to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances that justifies the adjustment. Here are some common situations that may warrant a modification:

– A Significant Change in Income

If the paying spouse experiences a significant increase in income, the recipient spouse may petition for an increase in alimony to reflect the new financial circumstances.

– Loss of Employment

Conversely, if the paying spouse loses their job or faces financial hardship, they may request a reduction in alimony payments.

– Remarriage

If the recipient spouse remarries or enters into a supportive relationship, the paying spouse may seek a termination or reduction of alimony, as the financial need may decrease.

– Health Issues

Serious health issues that affect either party’s ability to work or require substantial medical expenses can be grounds for modifying alimony.

– Change in the Custodial Arrangement

If there’s a significant change in the custodial arrangement of the children, it can impact the financial needs of both parties and potentially lead to an alimony modification.

Defining a Substantial Change in Circumstances

A substantial change in circumstances refers to a significant alteration or modification in a person’s situation or conditions that can have a considerable impact on their life. Such changes can range from personal to financial or even environmental.

For example, a substantial change may occur when an individual experiences a sudden loss of income, requiring them to adjust their lifestyle accordingly.

Another example could be a major health issue or disability that significantly impacts an individual’s ability to engage in daily activities.

In legal contexts, a substantial change in circumstances can also refer to events that may affect a person’s legal rights or obligations, such as a change in custody agreements or employment status.

Overall, a substantial change in circumstances implies a significant shift that warrants attention and adaptation in various aspects of a person’s life. 

5 Shocking Reasons to Increase Alimony

Now that we’ve covered the circumstances that can lead to a modification let’s explore the five shocking reasons why alimony may be increased after a divorce is final.

1. Significant Increase in Income

Imagine you were paying alimony to your ex-spouse, and they suddenly got a promotion that doubled their income. This substantial change in income could be a shocking reason to seek an increase in alimony payments.

2. Unexpected Financial Hardship

Life is unpredictable, and unexpected financial hardships can strike at any time. If you, as the recipient of alimony, face unforeseen financial challenges, you may need an increase in alimony to make ends meet.

3. Drastic Changes in Expenses

Alimony is often based on the recipient’s reasonable needs and the paying spouse’s ability to pay. If your expenses significantly increase due to unforeseen circumstances, such as medical bills or educational expenses, you might be eligible for an increase in alimony.

4. Changes in Child Custody

Child custody arrangements can have a significant impact on alimony payments. If you were receiving alimony while taking care of your children, but the custody arrangement changes, you may need an increase in alimony to cover the additional expenses associated with the new arrangement.

5. Failure to Comply with the Original Agreement

Suppose your ex-spouse fails to comply with the original alimony agreement, such as consistently missing payments. In that case, you can take legal action to enforce the agreement and seek an increase to ensure they meet their financial obligations.

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Can My Alimony Order Be Changed After the Divorce?

After a divorce, an alimony order can be changed. This typically occurs when there has been a significant change in circumstances for either spouse.

These changes can include a decrease in income, loss of a job, or the remarriage of the receiving spouse.

To request a modification to the alimony order, a formal legal process must be followed. This usually involves filing a petition with the court and providing evidence supporting the need for the change.

It is important to note that not all requests for modification will be granted. The court will consider various factors, such as the length of the marriage and the financial situation of both individuals, before making a decision.

In several states, laws have been put in place to terminate alimony in specific circumstances.

Discuss Alimony Modification With a Divorce Lawyer

 When going through a divorce, it may be necessary to discuss alimony modification with a divorce lawyer. Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a payment that one spouse may have to make to the other after a divorce.

However, circumstances can change over time, such as a significant increase or decrease in income or the recipient spouse getting remarried.

In these situations, it may be necessary to modify the alimony agreement. An experienced divorce lawyer can review the circumstances and help negotiate a fair modification.

They will gather evidence and present a convincing argument to the court on behalf of their client, ensuring that their best interests are protected. 

Check Your Alimony Agreement and Court Order for Restrictions (FAQ’s)

Can alimony be increased indefinitely?

No, alimony cannot be increased indefinitely. Alimony modifications are typically based on substantial changes in circumstances, and the court will assess each case individually to determine the appropriate adjustment.

Can a voluntary reduction in income lead to increased alimony?

Suppose the paying spouse voluntarily reduces their income to avoid paying higher alimony. In that case, the court may consider the reduction in income as a basis for increasing alimony if it determines that the reduction was made in bad faith.

How do I start the process to increase alimony?

To start the process of increasing alimony, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the legal steps and help you gather the necessary evidence to support your case.

Can alimony be decreased after it’s increased?

Yes, alimony can be decreased after it’s increased if there’s a valid reason for the reduction, such as a change in financial circumstances or compliance with the original agreement.

What if my ex-spouse refuses to pay the increased alimony?

If your ex-spouse refuses to pay the increased alimony as ordered by the court, you can take legal action to enforce the order, which may include wage garnishment or other enforcement measures.

Can alimony be increased after divorce in Tennessee?

Yes, alimony can be increased after divorce in Tennessee, but only if there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances since the original divorce decree was entered.


Can alimony be changed after divorce? In conclusion, divorce can be a complex and emotionally challenging process. While alimony is often determined during the divorce settlement, circumstances can change over time. It’s important to understand that alimony can be increased after divorce if there is a significant change in financial circumstances or other compelling reasons. It’s crucial to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who can guide you through the process and advocate for your best interests. Remember, divorce is not the end but a new beginning, and with the right support, you can navigate the challenges and build a brighter future. So, if you find yourself in a situation where you’re wondering, “Can alimony be increased after divorce?” – seek professional advice to explore your options and find the best path forward. If you find yourself in a situation that warrants an alimony modification, consult with an experienced divorce attorney or law firm to navigate the legal process effectively.

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