Modification Of Alimony When Financial Circumstances Change

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsAlimony is the amount one spouse needs to pay the other after the two get separated. It is also known as spousal support. Alimony is usually paid when one spouse earns significantly more than the other.  If the paying spouse’s income increases post-divorce, should he/she pay more money as part of alimony?

Can alimony be increased?

The alimony amount cannot necessarily be increased after divorce simply because the spouse receiving the amount isn’t doing well enough in terms of finances.  Moreover, simply because the paying spouse gets a new job that pays him or her more or if he or she has suddenly inherited substantial assets does not mean the other spouse is entitled to more.  That’s because spousal support is meant to maintain the marital standard of living based on the financial circumstances that existed during the marriage, not after marriage.  Generally, the support can be modified downward if the receiving spouse begins earlier more income or the paying spouse loses his or her job or suffers a reduction in income through no fault of their own.

When does the alimony remain unchanged?

The decision to pay more alimony depends on the one paying the money and his financial condition. If the court finds that despite an improvement in financial condition, an individual cannot pay more than he/she is paying, the alimony will remain unchanged. If it is found that the receiver is not utilizing the money in an efficient manner, then also the alimony amount remains unchanged. In some cases, a spouse may demand more money for the children. The case will then fall under child care and not alimony. Also, if a spouse spends the alimony amount on doing something illegal, then not only will the amount stay the same but the spouse will also have to answer to a court of law.


Alimony is one of the most important factors that help individuals stay financially independent after a divorce. The amount of alimony paid by one spouse to the other depends on the financial condition of both of them. However, in some cases, the receiving spouse is entitled to receive more alimony that what was first decided. But there are also situations where the alimony remains unchanged despite the change in the financial situation of either of them.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation