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Can a spousal support order be revised?

Spousal support orders are based on the financial circumstances of the divorcing parties at the time the divorce is finalized. Generally, the amount of alimony awarded is based on one spouse’s need and the other’s ability to pay. If either of those situations changes over time, the order can—and should—be revised to reflect that.

Factors That Could Warrant a Spousal Support Revision

When alimony is first awarded, it’s often intended to be temporary. This is especially true when younger couples divorce or if one spouse plans to stay at home until their children are in school. Since it’s based on the dependent spouse’s living expenses and the primary earner’s salary, it can be modified if either of those amounts changes.

Examples of when a spousal support order can be modified include:

The recipient gets a job

If spousal support was awarded because one spouse was earning little or no money at the time of the divorce, the order could be revised or rescinded once the supported spouse gets a job that pays a sufficient amount to cover their living expenses.

The supporter loses a job

If the spouse ordered to pay support experiences a cut in pay or a job loss and can no longer support their ex, a judge can be asked to revise the order.

The recipient moves

If the recipient had been staying in the family home when the order was approved but has since moved to a less expensive place, the order could be revised.

There are unexpected expenses

When the supported spouse has greater expenses than what was anticipated—such as a serious medical issue, home repairs, or taxes—the supporting spouse could be ordered to pay more.


Once the supported spouse remarries, they can no longer receive support from their ex.

In order for the court to consider modifying a spousal support order, the person requesting the change has to prove that a significant change in circumstances occurred. This can be done by presenting bills, financial documents, expert testimony, and other evidence.

An Experienced Virginia Divorce Attorney Can Make All the Difference

Whether you’re the paying spouse who believes you should pay less or the receiving spouse who needs more money, our experienced team can examine your finances and tell you whether you have a valid case for a spousal support modification.

Do You Need To Speak To A Virginia Divorce Attorney?

If you are considering divorce you need to speak with an experienced Virginia divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Fairfax, Virginia law office at 703.277.2811 to schedule your free consultation. We help clients throughout Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia and look forward to helping you.