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Post-dissolution alimony modifications in California

When a couple divorces in California, courts sometimes order one spouse to pay the other a monthly in order to provide financial support. In some cases, either one or both parties may need to change the alimony order.

For example, a spouse may have lost his or her job, a party may no longer need the financial support or a spouse who receives alimony may have not made good faith efforts to try to become financially self-supporting. In any of these situations, a person may file a motion with the court requesting the spousal support order be modified or terminated.

Couples may agree to the change and file a stipulated motion with the court. If the parties do not agree, either may file a motion to modify the spousal support order. If such a change is needed, it is important to file the motion as soon as possible. If the alimony order is modified, the order is not retroactive but will begin upon the date of the new order.

Some circumstances necessitate a change in a previously issued spousal support order. Since the original order is a legal one, people must continue to abide by it until it is modified by the court. People who believe they have grounds to seek such a modification in the original alimony order may benefit by consulting with a family law attorney. An attorney may be able to review the relevant facts in order to provide advice regarding the likelihood of a modification. In cases where the other party attempts to dispute the modification, the attorney might also represent a client's position in court.

Source: Judicial Council of California, "Changing (or Ending) a Spousal/Partner Support Order", November 18, 2014

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