If you are granted spousal support after a divorce in California, the court will order your former spouse to pay you a certain amount of money for a certain amount of time (though timing may not be so concrete in marriages that lasted ten years or longer). During that time, it is not uncommon to request a modification in payment due to certain life changes.

Your ex-spouse cannot request a modification just because he doesn’t feel like paying so much money. He can request a modification if he can show that there has been a change in circumstances.

Common reasons for modifications in spousal support include:

  • The supporting spouse loses a job, or has a significant drop in income, and can no longer afford payments.
  • The supporting spouse feels that the spouse receiving support is not making a good faith effort toward being self-supporting
  • The spouse being supported gets married or moves in with a new, serious partner
  • An existing child support order has ended because the child is no longer a minor or custody changes
  • The supporting spouse retires

Some of the reasons may play a part in not just modifying, but completely terminating a spousal support order. For example, if you get remarried or establish a household with a serious boyfriend or girlfriend, you will almost always no longer be eligible to receive spousal support. Such changes should not be made until you have had a chance to think them through.

It is important to speak with an experienced attorney before moving forward with any modifications in alimony. Remember, the rules for spousal support were set up by a court decision, and you cannot change them on your own—not even with a mutual decision with your ex-spouse—unless the court approves. If you need assistance with spousal support in California, call 415-341-1144 to contact the Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan in San Francisco.

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