Can a Spousal Support Order Be Modified in California?

Can a Spousal Support Order Be Modified in California?

Can a Spousal Support Order Be Modified in California?Spousal support is essentially the court’s way of balancing out the difference in two spouse’s incomes when they divorce. This is to ensure that one spouse isn’t left in financial ruin as a result of a divorce or separation. While spousal support is a court-ordered agreement in California, the state does allow individuals the chance to request modifications to active orders. However, the spouse requesting a modification must prove they experienced a significant change in their life.

For example, the person ordered to pay spousal support could undergo a substantial financial hardship that prohibits their ability to pay spousal support, or the spouse receiving support may receive an increase in income and no longer need payments. These factors can contribute to necessitating a change to the spousal support order. There are, however, legal requirements that must be met in order for a modification to be approved.

The Process of Modifying Spousal Support Orders in California

Generally, to request a modification to your spousal support order, both spouses must agree on the new terms and submit them together. A judge will then review the new terms agreed on by both spouses and consider whether they should be implemented. If a judge decides there is no substantial reason to change the order or that the terms are not fair, they can deny the request.

If the spouses cannot agree on a modification, there is also the option for the one spouse to request a modification. This would require the spouse to fill out the necessary request forms and gather relevant evidence demonstrating their reasoning for the modification. A family attorney can help you prepare the legal documents needed, schedule your court hearing, serve the papers to the other spouse, and represent your needs for the modification.

You should note that a judge never has to approve a modification request. If both spouses agree to the modification, you will most likely have a stronger chance of getting your changes approved. However, if only one spouse requests a modification, it may be harder to prove why they need it on their own.

Spousal Support for Long-Term Marriages in California

California defines long-term marriages as marriages that last more than ten years. In the case of a long-term marriage that ends in divorce or separation, the court automatically retains jurisdiction over spousal support unless specified otherwise in the written spousal support agreement. This means that the court has the discretion to modify the order as they see fit. The court retains the power to modify or terminate the order at any time upon changes in circumstances.

Non-Modifiable Spousal Support Orders

It is important to note that there are situations where spouses may execute a non-modifiable spousal support order. This is done voluntarily by the spouses at the time the original spousal support order is formed. This agreement specifically states that the order cannot be changed or terminated in the future. It is extremely important that you speak with a qualified family law attorney before signing any court order, especially a non-modifiable spousal support order.

How Is Spousal Support Decided in California?


Q: Can I Negotiate Spousal Support Privately With My Spouse?

A: Yes, a spousal support agreement can be negotiated privately between spouses. You should discuss terms such as the length of payments and their amounts. During these negotiations, spouses need to be honest and communicate effectively. A mediator can often help spouses through the negotiation process by guiding them to a resolution. If spouses can agree outside of court, they can create an agreement and present it to a judge for approval.

Q: How Long Do Spousal Support Payments Last?

A: The length of a spousal support order is dependent on the length of a marriage. California law dictates that spousal support payments may last for up to half of the length of the marriage for marriages that last ten years or less. For example, if a marriage lasted six years, then spousal support payments may be paid for up to three years. For marriages that last longer than ten years, there is not a specific duration.

Q: Why Do I Need a San Diego Spousal Support Lawyer?

A: A spousal support lawyer can provide advice and guidance while negotiating your spousal support order. It is essential to have an adept attorney who has knowledge of family law and how it relates to spousal support cases representing you. It is not uncommon for spouses to become hostile during these negotiations, and the legal acumen of a family attorney can prove to be a great benefit. If you’re unsure how a family lawyer can help, don’t be afraid to ask our team.

Q: How Much Does a Spousal Support Lawyer Cost in California?

A: Spousal support lawyers can be paid in multiple different forms, and they all charge different rates. The average hourly rate of a California family lawyer is roughly $300 to $500 per hour. In this case, you are paying for the amount of work the lawyer provides on an hourly basis. A retainer fee is an upfront expense that is paid to essentially secure the lawyer to work on your case, and it can range from roughly $1,000 to $5,000+.

Family Law Assistance in San Diego and Beyond

Spousal support is a sensitive, contentious area of family law that can be challenging to deal with on your own. Our team understands that the legal process can feel overwhelming and is ready to guide you through it. Whether you need to amend a spousal support agreement or request a new one, our team is committed to providing you with the assistance you need to find a fair resolution in your spousal support case.

The legal team at Bickford Blado & Botros can support you in forming a spousal support agreement effectively. Our attorneys have extensive family law experience and have helped countless individuals find resolutions that meet their needs. Our team can assist with all the necessary negotiations, court hearings, and court filings required throughout your case.

Contact Bickford Blado & Botros to see how we can assist you through a California spousal support case.



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