Request to change your alimony

Find out how to request to change your alimony.

Probate and Family Court locations

The Details   of Request to change your alimony

What you need   for Request to change your alimony

The person paying alimony or the person receiving alimony can ask for a change in alimony, or you can both ask together.

If you and your spouse both agree that you’d like to change your alimony, you should file a Joint Petition. You'll need to file:

You may also need to file:

If you can’t agree on the changes, you should file:

Fees   for Request to change your alimony

There may be additional fees you need to pay to the sheriff or constable for service of process. If you can’t afford to pay court fees, see Indigency (waiver of court fees).

Name Fee Unit
Alimony modification filing fee $150 each
Summons Fee $5 each
Fee paid if there is joint petition for alimony $150 each

How to request   Request to change your alimony

You must file in the Probate and Family Court in the county where the alimony was originally granted, usually where you were divorced. For example, if you lived in Norfolk County when alimony was first ordered, but you now live in Suffolk and the defendant now lives in Plymouth , you must file in Norfolk Probate and Family Court.

Next steps   for Request to change your alimony

  1. Service of process

    When you file the complaint, the court staff will give you a completed summons form. You must make sure that this form is served on (delivered to) the other person. If you feel that the other person won’t object to the modification, you can have them sign the summons in the presence of a notary public and then return it to the court.

    If you know that the other party will object to the change, you should have a constable or sheriff in that county serve the summons. Usually you need to hire a sheriff or constable to serve the defendant.

    You can find directories of constables online. You will need to pay the sheriff or constable for the service or give them a copy of your approved indigency form. See service of process for more information. When a sheriff serves the defendant, they give the defendant a copy of the summons, complaint, and tracking notice. Then, they fill out the second page of the summons, called Return of Service. Return of Service is proof that the defendant was served.

  2. File the completed summons

    The original summons (not a copy) must be filed with the court. Check with the sheriff to see if they will file it for you or if you must file it with the court yourself. If the sheriff sends it to you, make sure that you file the completed summons with the court as soon as possible.

  3. Request a court date

    The other person, called the defendant, has 20 days to file an answer to the Complaint for Modification of Alimony. After that time, you should file a request for assignment of a court date if the staff hasn’t already assigned one. If the defendant doesn’t file an answer, then you should ask for an uncontested trial. If they do file an answer, ask the court staff to schedule a pre-trial conference and explain the issues involved in the modification.

More info   for Request to change your alimony

If you aren’t the spouse who filed

If you aren’t the spouse who's asking for the change to alimony, the first time you hear about the court action might be when you get served with papers by a sheriff or constable. Read through the papers you receive carefully. You are the defendant in this case.

You have 20 days to file an “Answer” with the court. The Answer is a document that you write yourself, it isn’t a court form that you fill out. See Respond to a case filed against you in Probate and Family Court for information on how to write your answer and how to send it to the plaintiff (the person asking for the change) and the court.

Downloads   for Request to change your alimony

Contact   for Request to change your alimony

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