The granting of one dollar per year, although seemingly of no consequence, makes the judgment of divorce subject to modification for purposes of granting alimony at a later date if certain legal requirements are met. Unless otherwise specified in the divorce, alimony may always be modified either upward, downward, or even eliminated. Any modification of an alimony award may be accomplished only after a court has determined that there has been a substantial change in circumstances of one of the parties.
Not all alimony is for an undetermined duration. Courts have begun to award what is in effect limited duration alimony, commonly called “rehabilitative alimony.” This alimony is intended to be used as interim or transitional support for one of the parties. When one of the parties is in school or a training program which will ultimately lead to that person becoming self-sufficient, or to compensate one of the parties for having been absent or out of the workplace for a long period of time, courts have resorted to this type of alimony.
Depending on the specific circumstances, alimony can be made non-modifiable as to the amount paid or the length of the term of the payment of the alimony. If the final divorce decree is silent or does not mention modification of alimony, the court will retain the ability to modify the alimony decree.
Before signing any agreement concerning alimony, make sure that you have been fully apprised of your rights and you know how it will impact your life.
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