Changing Or Cancelling Spousal Support Payments

When former spouses have a court order or agreement that requires one of them to pay spousal support to the other, there inevitably comes a time when one of them will want to apply for a change or termination of the spousal support paid.

At Henderson Heinrichs LLP, our family lawyers have extensive experience in assessing the appropriate amount of spousal support payable and when a spousal support obligation should end. Our lawyers are well-equipped to guide you through process of negotiating a new support order or litigating the issue in court.

When Can I Change or Cancel my Spousal Support Payments?

If your court order does not specify an end date to spousal support payments, then the parties may still apply for a change or termination of spousal support payments wherever there has been a material change of circumstances affecting one or both parties. A material change means a change that is substantial, unforeseen and of a continuing nature. Another way to put it is a change which, if known at the time of the original order, would have resulted in a different order being made.

Assessing the circumstances to determine whether they constitute a material change is an important first step. Our BC family lawyers have the expertise and experience to help you decide whether you will meet this threshold issue in court.

How do I Change or Cancel my Spousal Support Payments?

Changing or terminating spousal support payments often involves a combination of negotiation with the opposing party and their lawyer, and bringing an application before the court.

If negotiation is pursued first, it is important to clearly establish notice to the other party of your intention to seek a change to the order, so that later the variation to the spousal support order can be made retroactive to the date of effective notice, if not earlier. Financial disclosure should be exchanged, so that each of the parties can assess whether the spousal support payments are appropriate or need to be revised. Consideration should be made to the best approach to negotiation, whether it be through correspondence, mediation, or four-way meetings between the parties and their counsel.

If an application to court is required, the party seeking the change or termination of a spousal support order or agreement must prepare a Notice of Application and supporting affidavits. Close attention must be paid to the relevant legal tests and a compelling case advanced to convince the court that a change to a prior order or agreement is warranted.

Our family lawyers at Henderson Heinrichs LLP assist clients in advancing strong legal arguments that can be used in negotiation, mediation, and litigation. They tailor their approach to the specific needs of the client, whether they are payors or recipients of spousal support, with a view to achieving the best possible outcome.

Use our online inquiry form to arrange a free, half hour consultation, or call our firm at 866-649-7217.