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Home » Can Alimony Orders in Connecticut be Modified after the Divorce?

Can Alimony Orders in Connecticut be Modified after the Divorce?

May 30, 2024


Have you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse come to an agreement surrounding alimony? You may be curious as to whether or not alimony orders may be modified after the divorce has been finalized. 

In our latest video blog, Partner and Attorney Sarah Murray delves into whether or not alimony is modifiable in Connecticut, how to obtain an alimony modification, and more. Her valuable insights are summarized below.

How Does A Person Know If His or Her Alimony Order Is Modifiable?

Most, but not all, alimony orders in Connecticut are modifiable. Sometimes, parties agree or a Court Orders that alimony is non-modifiable as to duration and/or amount. If the underlying alimony order specifically states that it is non-modifiable as to duration, amount, or both, a person cannot request that a Court modify the order in the future. If an alimony order does not preclude modification, it is typically modifiable. Cohabitation by the alimony recipient is another basis for modification. 

What Does A Party Need To Prove To Obtain An Alimony Modification?

The statute that governs alimony modifications in Connecticut is General Statutes Section 46b-86. To prove that an alimony award should be modified for reasons other than cohabitation, the person who files the Motion to Modify must prove that either party or in some cases both parties, has experienced a substantial change in circumstances since the date of the last alimony order. 

What Are Examples Of Substantial Changes In Circumstances Warranting A Modification Of Alimony?

Every alimony modification case is fact-specific, and there is no rule as to what constitutes a substantial change in circumstances. Sometimes, serious changes in health or loss of a job can be considered substantial changes in circumstances, but not always. Under Connecticut case law, an increase in the alimony payor’s income cannot be the only substantial change in circumstances. It is important that a party considering filing a motion to modify or a party served with a motion to modify discuss with an experienced divorce lawyer whether or not the claimed substantial change of circumstances is likely enough to obtain a modification of alimony. 

What Happens To The Alimony Order If A Party Can Prove A Substantial Change In Circumstances?

If the moving party successfully proves that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the date of the last alimony order, the Court can still determine that the alimony award is appropriate under the circumstances and leave the award in place. However, the Court also has the discretion to determine whether the alimony amount or term should be changed. The Court can make new alimony orders based on the statutory criteria and the parties’ facts and circumstances. 

If Alimony Is Modified, Can It Be Modified Retroactively?

Filing and litigating (or settling) an alimony modification claim can take time. In light of that, parties want to know whether any modified alimony order is prospective only. The Court does not have to order retroactive modification but can choose to do so. Under Connecticut General Statutes Section 46b-86(a), the Court has the authority to order retroactive modification going back to the date that the non-moving party was served with the motion to modify alimony, but not farther back than that. 

If you’re considering divorce, it’s highly advised that you seek experienced counsel. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.

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