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Can a spousal support order be changed?

When California couples go through a divorce, the lower-earning partiesmay lose the financial support that the higher-earning ones provided for them. To offset this income discrepancy, a judge may award spousal support to the lower-earning party for a period of time or indefinitely. At some point during the time that the spousal support order is in effect, the order may need to be changed.

A judge will only agree to change a spousal support order if there has been a significant change in circumstances for one of the ex-spouses. People who are paying spousal support may petition for a change to the order if their income has decreased and they cannot afford to make spousal support payments any longer. A judge may also agree to change or end a spousal support order if there is evidence that the recipient is not making an honest attempt to become self sufficient.

It is important to note that a person who has been ordered to pay spousal support has a legal obligation to continue to make payments until there is a new court order declaring otherwise. A person who loses their job will not be able to get a new spousal support order until a judge hears their case and makes a ruling. If the court date is set three months after the job loss, the unemployed person will still owe at least three more months of spousal support.

A person who is paying spousal support may decide to petition for a change to the spousal support order if they find out that their ex-spouse has been remarried. A family law attorney may be able to help the paying ex-spouse to argue that the recipient ex-spouse no longer needs spousal support to cover their living expenses. Every spousal support order is different, so the information in this blog should not be treated as personalized legal advice.

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