Requesting Spousal Support Modifications


 Generally, after balancing the parties’ income with their lifestyle during the marriage a judge awards spousal support.  However, there are many reasons why spousal support orders may need to be changed later on down the line.  In doing so, either spouse must usually show that there has been a “material change in circumstances” since the order was originally made – this allows the modification or termination of spousal support. 

For instance, sometimes a spouse no longer needs spousal support and elects to have it terminated.  Other times, a supporting spouse may be undergoing financial hardship, and can no longer afford the amount of support the were previously ordered to pay.  Also, when a spouse that was receiving spousal support remarries, a modification to spousal support will be made to terminate spousal support.  If a supported party cohabitates with someone else, there may also be a legal presumption of lesser need.

More information on the ability to modify spousal support in California may be found in California Family Code Sections 3603, 3651(c) and 4333.  For instance, Family Code Section 3603 states:

 “An order made pursuant to this chaptermay be modified or terminated at any time except as to an amount that accrued before the date of the filing of the notice of motion or order to show cause to modify or terminate.”

Family Code Sections 3651(c) and 4333provide more detailed criterions in modifying spousal support.  To better understand how a request for spousal support modification works, it is best to seek an experienced family law attorney to help explain your rights.

Authored by IRWIN & IRWIN.

IRWIN & IRWIN Family Law is located in Fullerton, California.  We provide a full suite of family law services from divorce litigation, divorce mediation, child custody issues, domestic violence restraining orders and representing minors in court.  “Every situation is different, and some come with very complex financial issues.  Our legal team is here to support you during a very troubling time and prepare you for court, or to at least help negotiate or mediate the issues out to establish an equitable legal resolution,” says Kelly Irwin, Senior Litigator at the firm.