Most people in the Detroit area who have endured the emotional stress of a divorce are very glad to have the process ended. Unfortunately, life has a way of hitting people with unexpected surprises, even after a divorce. Often, a change in a person’s financial situation may cause a recently divorced person to feel that one or more aspects of the court’s divorce decree is inequitable. Returning to court to argue about an issue that was thought to have been settled is extremely unappetizing. Michigan law provides very clear guidelines as to when a person can challenge an order granting spousal support and what must be proved to change the court’s order.
Grounds for modification of an order for alimony
The moving party’s first burden is to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances following the issuance of the final decree. The moving party must also prove that the change in circumstances was unexpected. Some of the reasons that courts may find persuasive include remarriage, a change in a person’s ability to pay the specified support, or the loss of a job. In more general terms, the two most common reasons for modifying an order for alimony are a change in need or a reduction in the ability to pay.
A change in income does not, by itself, guarantee that the court will grant the requested modification. The moving party must demonstrate that the change will cause substantial hardship or inequity.
Bringing the motion
A motion to modify a divorce decree must be made as provided by the Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure. Anyone contemplating seeking modification of a final decree would be well advised to consult with an experienced divorce attorney about the procedures, necessary evidence, and the likelihood of obtaining the requested relief.