This post is the last in a 5 part series on spousal support in New Mexico. If you haven’t already read parts 1 – 4, I recommend you do before continuing.
Modifying a spousal support agreement
Can alimony be modified after a divorce is final? The answer is a qualified yes.
When a divorce decree is accepted by the court, it becomes a judgement. This means that, unlike a normal contract between two parties, breaking it opens one up to contempt proceedings and other hefty consequences. Some parts of this judgement, like those pertaining to the handling of property, cannot be changed outside of a 30 day window for appeals in cases of fraud or where the court made a mistake. Other parts of the divorce decree, like child support, child custody, and spousal support, can be modified. This is called a divorce decree modification. The majority of divorce decree modifications pertain to child support and custody rather than spousal support, but is is possible to modify spousal support stipulated in the finalized divorce decree.
In order to determine whether or not a divorce decree is eligible for modification, the court will look for what is known as a material change in circumstances. In cases of child support, the petitioner must be requesting the amount of support be modified by 20% or more, but since spousal support is more subjective and varied than child support, there is no hard and fast rule for material change in alimony cases.
There are some cases where modifying alimony is necessary. If you’re wondering if your case is eligible, or just have more questions about spousal support in New Mexico, give the office a call. PJ Hartman has over 15 years of experience helping New Mexico families resolve their disputes in a manner that most benefits all parties involved.