Alimony modifications

Posted by on July 24, 2014 in Alimony, Family Law

Alimony it is one of the most difficult issues that we grapple with in a divorce.  If a case is appropriate for alimony (meaning one spouse has a need for financial support to get to a point of self-sufficiency and the other spouse has the ability to meet that need) the most difficult questions for spouses, lawyers and judges is how much alimony should be paid, and for how long.  Unlike child support, there is no formula to determine what is appropriate, rather it is a judgment made based on the specific facts of the individual case.

Alimony can also be modified; in New Hampshire in order to modify an alimony award an individual must prove that there has been a substantial and unforeseeable change of circumstances that makes the current alimony award either improper or unfair.  That is a standard that has been described as difficult, and a high burden to meet.  The New Hampshire Supreme Court has recently clarified that this standard for modification does not apply to cases where an extension or renewal of alimony is being requested.  Rather, if an individual is asking the court to extend the length of time an alimony award will last, the standard is lower and is described by the Court as “to establish that justice requires a renewal or extension”  See, In the matter of John Lyon and Kimberly Lyon, 2013-401, slip op. (May, 2014).  https://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme/opinions/2014/2014039lyon.pdf