Most of the time, your spousal support will end when your court order states. However, there may be situations when you want or need to stop paying support before the court-ordered date.
If you find yourself in this situation, you will need to seek a modification. Under Pennsylvania law, spousal support modifications are only available in specific situations.
Requesting a modification requires “substantial” changes in your circumstances. The law states that if you have a substantial change in income – or your former spouse does – then you can request a change to your order. You will have to file a request with the court and provide proof of the income changes. Examples of qualifying changes include:
- A significant change in income – such as a promotion or loss of employment
- A move to a different city with a substantially different cost of living
- Loss of ability to work – for example, from a disability
- Early retirement
Another change occurs if your former spouse remarries. In this case, the law says support obligations end. You will need to file paperwork to show the relationship change.
Court order date
If you reach the date on your court order, you do not need to do anything. The order ends automatically, along with your responsibility to make payments. You may need to alter any garnishments you have for support to reflect that you are no longer required to pay.
While it is possible to end your spousal support obligations early, you should be aware that when requesting a modification, you must be sure the changes occurring will have the court rule in your favor. There is always the potential the modification request could go in your former spouse’s favor. In addition, make sure you file the proper paperwork and understand whether you owe back support. You will still have to pay that even if the order ends.