When the court awards spousal support, or alimony, to one spouse from the other, the court is balancing the incomes of the spouses similar to their lifestyle during their marriage. However, there are circumstances that call for the modification or termination of the spousal support order. A divorce alimony attorney can review your circumstances and help you request a modification or termination of your spousal support order.

Who May Request for a Modification?

Either or both spouses or domestic partners may request for a modification of the alimony order. The court can modify or terminate the order if one party shows there has been a “change in circumstances” since the date the support order was entered.

Basis for Modification or Termination

A knowledgeable divorce alimony attorney understands that although the court has jurisdiction to modify or terminate a spousal support order if you can show that you have a change in circumstances, it does not mean the court will grant such modification or termination just because you have a change. Rather, you must show that you have a significant, material change of circumstances that occurred outside the your control. The court has discretion when determining whether the change in circumstances warrants a modification. If, for example, you have a drop in income and are now seeking a reduction of alimony payment, the court will look to see whether the income drop was in your control. The court will likely deny your request for reduction of alimony payments if you intentionally acted in such a way to be fired or given less work hours so you could seek lower support payments. Likewise, if the supported spouse does not make a good faith effort to become self-sufficient, you may request to terminate the support order. You may also request for the termination of the support order if the supported spouse remarries, enters into a domestic partnership, or cohabitates with another person. There must be a showing that the relationship is one of homemaker-companion, romantic relationship, and not merely a roommate. When determining whether to modify or terminate a spousal support order, the court will look at the same factors utilized to calculate the support order, outlined in Family Code 4320. If you have a significant change in circumstances or believe you can no longer meet your alimony payments, a skilled divorce alimony attorney can review your case history and circumstances to help create a support modification or termination strategy.

Ways to Modify or Terminate Spousal Support

The easiest way to modify the spousal support is if the former spouses or domestic partners reach an agreement to a new amount of support and execute either an agreement or a stipulation as to that fact. You then give the executed agreement/stipulation to the judge for signature to become a new court order. However, if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, then the party wishing for a modification, or termination, must file a motion with the court requesting for the change in the order. A skilled divorce alimony attorney can help you negotiate with the other party to reach an agreement. Or he can help you file a motion requesting for the change in support order.

Contact a Divorce Alimony Attorney Today

If you have a significant, material change in circumstances, such as decrease in income due to loss of job, working fewer hours, or retirement, immediately request for a modification or termination of spousal support. The court cannot change the support order retroactively if you decide to wait. The court can only change the support order from the date you filed your papers requesting for the change. Call divorce alimony attorney Rick D. Banks at (559)222-4891 for assistance.
Categories: Divorce