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2011 Alimony Reform Act – Modification

Modification of current alimony obligations

Read part II to learn the standard for modifying a current alimony judgment.

Section 48(7) of the 2011 Alimony Reform Act states that current alimony judgments may be modified. If the current alimony obligation survives the Complaint for Divorce judgment, then it will not be subject to modification under the Act. If the current alimony obligation merges with the Complaint for Divorce judgment, then it may be modified. To determine whether an alimony obligation survives or merges it is necessary to review the separation agreement. If there is no separation agreement because a judge issued the terms of the judgment, then alimony is merged and may be modified under the 2011 Alimony Reform Act.

Although current alimony judgments will be modified if and when the Act becomes law, the modifications will be limited to duration. Section (48)(7)(a) states that the Act is NOT deemed a material change of circumstances to modify the amount of alimony. Section 48(7) (b) states that the Act is deemed a material change of circumstances to modify the duration of alimony. A person who seeks to modify their alimony obligation in order to limit the duration of alimony must comply with section 48(7)(c).

Section 48(7)(c) allows for a modification of alimony duration if the current alimony duration exceeds the durational limits outlined in section 48 (2)(b). If the payor still seeks to modify the duration, then the date to file a modification is based on the following schedule:

Note: Hereinafter the “Effective date” is the day the Act becomes law.

  • If married 5 years or less, then may file modification 1 year after Effective date;
  •  If married greater than 5 years, but less than 10 years, then may file modification 2 years after Effective date;
  •  If married greater than 10 years, but less than 15 years, then may file modification 3 years after Effective date;
  •  If married greater than 15 years, but less than 20 years, then may file modification 3.5 years after Effective date;
  •  If you are eligible for retirement under the United States Old Age, Disability, and Survivor Insurance Act, 42 U.S.C. 416, then one year after Effective date.

A payor who files for modification will not have to include their spouses’ income and assets. Additionally, a payor’s income from a second or overtime job will not be considered material if the payor has a full-time job and the other job started after the initial judgment.

If you have any questions regarding if and when alimony can modified contact me.