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How a new relationship may affect maintenance payments

Although you are no longer emotionally involved with your former spouse, his or her new relationship may be something for you to celebrate. When your ex marries or moves in with a new partner, your spousal maintenance payments may end.

Here’s what says about modification of maintenance payments.

The purpose of spousal maintenance

Judges look at the length of the marriage, the quality of life the couple shared, the ability of each spouse to earn a living and other factors when deciding if spousal maintenance is necessary. Perhaps your spouse needed time to become self-supporting, was taking care of a child with disabilities or had a health condition that made keeping a decent job impossible. Judges weigh circumstances like these and set a maintenance award that balances out your financial situations so that both of you are starting fresh without undue hardship.

The reasons to modify spousal maintenance

After looking at the purpose, you can see how modification may be necessary if there is a significant change in circumstances. If your former spouse moves in with someone, their joined income may be much higher than yours. Continuing to make the payments would be unfair to you.

Moving in with someone is only a maintenance ender when it involves a romantic relationship, though. Your former spouse may move in with a friend or family member or find a roommate, and that would not change your obligation.

The way to modify spousal maintenance

The words “automatically ends” do not mean that you can just stop paying. You must file a motion with the court and wait until the judge issues an official order before your obligation ends.