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What You Need to Modify an Existing Spousal Support Order

What You Need to Modify an Existing Spousal Support OrderSpousal support, or alimony, is an award that is provided after divorce or legal separation in California. This form of payment is a way the state attempts to balance both of the divorcing parties’ income in a manner that is consistent with the lifestyle the parties had while they were married. When spousal support is awarded, there are certain factors that could require a change in the support ordered.

In certain divorce cases, a court order for spousal support will be included in the final judgement of dissolution. Spousal support involves one party making court-ordered payments to the other party for a predetermined period of time. This would allow the recipient party enough time to support him or herself after the divorce. Spousal support takes into consideration the needs of each party as well as the ability each party has to make spousal support payments. The order to pay will eventually be based on the circumstances of each party at the time of the final judgement of dissolution. When there is a change in the circumstances of the parties, a spousal support modification may be requested. When you need to modify your order of support, contact a skilled family law attorney who can help. With many years of dedicated experience, the attorneys at RM Law Group, LLP can provide you the legal support and guidance you need.

With offices conveniently located throughout Southern California, the family law attorneys at RM Law Group, LLP are committed to comprehensive advocacy and compassionate representation. When facing an unmanageable spousal support obligation, you will need the qualified support of a skilled attorney who can help – consider contacting RM Law Group, LLP for proficient support today.

California Family Code §§3603, 3651(c), and 4333

Under California law, unless divorced parties have signed a written stipulation or have otherwise agreed, temporary and permanent spousal support agreements and awards may be altered during the period in which the support is to be paid.

Couples in California can choose to have the court reserve jurisdiction over the matter but when the couple was married ten years or more, the court will reserve jurisdiction over the matter indefinitely. This means that the court can modify or terminate the order at any point in the future.

Modifying a Spousal Support Agreement

Based on the state’s Family Code §3590-3593, family law courts reserve the authority to alter spousal support orders. The following are just a few key points the law highlights:

  • A modification will not apply to any amount that is outstanding or was due before the motion to modify was filed.
  • The court cannot modify an order where the parties agreed that the order cannot be changed or revoked.
  • The State of California cannot modify an order that was set in another state when that state has exclusivity over the order under its laws. Likewise, other state courts cannot alter a spousal support order that was set in the State of California.

Types of Spousal Support in California

The State of California allows for two different types of spousal support. These are: Temporary Spousal Support, which are payments ordered while the divorce case is being finalized; and Permanent Spousal Support, which means the payments will be made for the duration indicated by the judge.

Modifying a Temporary Spousal Support Order

When paying temporary spousal support, the amount to be paid will usually be based on a formula used by the court handling the case or the county. When receiving an order for temporary spousal support, the order can be modified when personal circumstances have changed while the divorce case is ongoing. This can be the loss of a job or another form of event that severely affects the paying party’s ability to continue making support payments. These circumstances will allow a party to petition for a spousal support modification.

Modifying a Permanent Spousal Support Order

Once the divorce has been finalized, the court may order one party to pay the other support for a longer time. Depending on the case, some spousal support orders may not be modifiable. This means that even if there is a financial change among the parties, the order cannot be modified.

Petitioning the Court for a Modification

When petitioning the court for a spousal support modification, it is necessary to demonstrate sufficient evidence of the change in the circumstances that led to the request for the modification. A family law court will not be willing to reduce the amount ordered to pay when there is not enough evidence demonstrating the change in the petitioner’s circumstances.

A material change of circumstances can include: The supported spouse received inheritance, There was an increase in the debt-to-income ratio, Inability to work because of an illness, injury, or disability, and There was a reduction of income due to involuntary unemployment.

Build a Strong Case With Proficient Legal Support

Family law courts in California cannot take a person’s word to prove a change in financial circumstances to modify a spousal support order. For this reason, it is necessary to obtain the legal support of a proficient attorney who can help you prove your claim and ensure enough evidence is presented to the court.

RM Law Group, LLP is exceptionally versed in California divorce cases, including requests for spousal support modification. With the support of the experienced team of attorneys at RM Law Firm, LLP, it will be possible to demonstrate that you deserve a change in the order. The attorneys at RM Law Firm, LLP understand that can be a complicated and stressful matter. The law firm is prepared to help you through this difficult legal issue. Consider contacting the law firm today for a free initial consultation.

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