Could divorce maintenance or alimony to an ex-spouse be modified?

Could divorce maintenance or alimony to an ex-spouse be modified?

Question:

Dear solicitor, I live in Javea and the Denia courts have stated that I must pay a compensation ( maintenance or alimony) to my ex-spouse. And although I have appealed to the Provincial Audience of Alicante, the court has confirmed the divorce decree. Is there something I can do?, or do I have to pay this money every month forever ?.

Answer.

Dear reader, thank you for your enquiry.

As mentioned in some previous articles, family law court decisions and orders are not set in stone.

The Spanish Civil Code itself provides that the “measures” or decisions made by the judge in a divorce or separation court process, in relation to the children, use of the family home, charges and expenses of the marriage, etc., could be modified when there is a substantial change in  circumstances.

Concerning maintenance, support or alimony ( in Spanish also PENSIONES), Article 100 of the Spanish Civil Code says that once the amount of the maintenance and its update review are fixed by a court order, the decision can only be modified by substantial changes in the fortunes of either spouse.

Therefore, to change your divorce decree once it is definitive and non-appealable, would require:

.- a substantial change in circumstances

.- you must prove to the judge that they were important enough to justify the modification of what was stated in the original judgment

.- thus reducing or removing the obligation to pay the monthly amount to your spouse.

In these cases, it could be difficult to determine what is considered a substantial change of circumstances or fortune of either spouse.

As an example, I want to highlight court decisions from of a very interesting article found on the legal website: noticias jurídicas, about the latest decisions from the Spanish Supreme Court (CS) regarding family law.

Court Precedents.

Court Order of 25th/03/2014, said that it must not be considered a substantial enough change to modify alimony or maintenance, when the spouse beneficiary of it gains employment, if in the divorce agreement it had been expressly provided that this does not justify changing the maintenance.

In its judgment of 17th/03/2014 the CS establishes its doctrine on whether an inheritance may result in the modification or termination of alimony or maintenance. CS interprets that to receive an inheritance could be a fundamental change in the fortune of the heir, and as a non predictable event, could be a clear change in the economic situation of the heir receiving the support, and therefore can result in the amendment or termination of it.

If you have any question about divorce maintenance or alimony Contact Us.

The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.

Carlos Baos (Lawyer)

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