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Modification of Spousal Support

Modification of Spousal Support


One of the most difficult aspects of divorce is spousal or domestic partner support. When matters of the heart are involved, financial matters because even more hotly contested. Modification of support orders is no exception, as they involve the ability of the payer to pay and the need of the payee for financial support. If you are unfamiliar with spousal support in California, please see my prior blog here.


The threshold issue is whether the parties have agreed or a judge has ordered that spousal support may not be modified. If the parties agreed that it could not be changed, they will be bound by that agreement. Likewise, if a judge’s support order does not allow for change, no request to modify it will be granted.


If neither an agreement nor an order bar modification, the parties may agree to change the amount of spousal support themselves. If they do, before it is legally enforceable, they must ask a judge to approve it and enter it as an order of the court.


If the parties cannot agree, one of them may file a request with the court to modify the amount. The party making the request will have to show that there has been a change in circumstances that warrants a change in the amount paid. Following are the reasons in California that might support a change:

  • Reduced ability of the paying party’s ability to pay;
  • Reduced need of the party receiving the support;
  • The failure of the party receiving support to attempt to become self-supporting;
  • The remarriage, cohabitation, or death of the party receiving support; and
  • The inability of your employer or the child support agency to deliver the spousal support for at least six months due to a change in the payee’s address.

As you might imagine, how the facts are presented in a spousal support modification request can make a substantial difference in the outcome. If you’re faced with requesting modification or defending against it, you should hire an aggressive attorney with substantial experience in support matters. Judy L. Burger and her team have considerable experience in contested family law matters. Submit our Contact form today or call (415) 259-6636 to arrange an appointment to begin discussing your case.

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