When can spousal support be modified in California?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2022 | Family Law |

Spousal support or alimony is when the court orders one spouse to pay a certain amount of money to the other spouse during the divorce. The purpose of spousal support is to ensure that the receiving party is not financially disadvantaged. It also ensures that the receiving party is able to enjoy a lifestyle similar to what they had before or while in the marriage. 

However, spousal support is not a “set it and forget it” matter. Certain instances can justify a modification of the existing spousal support order. 

Here are three instances when you can modify a spousal support order in California

When the alimony has served its intended purpose

Spousal support can be temporary or permanent. Temporary spousal support is usually meant to serve a specific purpose like ensuring that the receiving party acquires the education and skills necessary to get a job and stand on their feet. Once this goal is realized, both parties can agree to stop spousal support payments. 

When there is a substantial change in circumstances

When one or both parties experience a substantial change in circumstances that directly affect the spousal support order, then either party can petition for the order’s modification. Here are three examples of changes in circumstances that can trigger a modification of spousal support: 

  • If the paying party loses their job or experiences a significant reduction in their income
  • If the paying party experiences a medical condition that severely puts a strain on their finances
  • If the receiving party is able to finance their lifestyle on their own

Death or remarriage

Spousal support automatically ends when the receiving party remarries or cohabits with a romantic partner. Likewise, the order becomes null and void when either party dies. 

Spousal support can be a difficult subject during the divorce process. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests while reaching the terms of the spousal support order.