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How to change a spousal or partner support order

The California Courts Judicial Branch has outlined the necessary steps to successfully change a spousal or partner support order. There are several reasons that an individual might seek to modify their order.

For example, if the support is no longer necessary or if the individual mandated to pay support loses their job and can no longer make the same amount in payments, one or both of the parties might request that the order be changed. A modification could also be requested in the event that the spouse or partner who was receiving support decides to remarry, which may be grounds for ending the support obligation.

The person wishing to make changes to the order must prove that a change in circumstances has occurred since the order was first established. In situations where both parties cannot agree to the modification, the individual wishing to make the changes may need to file a court motion requesting that the modification be granted. However, it is important to understand that the existing order will not be affected in any way unless a judge signs a modified court order even if an ex-spouse or partner verbally agreed to the changes.

Individuals might not realize that the support order will not be able to be changed to reflect the date that the change of income happened. If a job loss took place months ago but the individual neglects to ask for a change in support order, the judge can only change it to reflect the date the petition was submitted in court. A divorce lawyer might be able to help an individual successfully file a spousal support modification to ensure that it reflects the current needs of the individual who has had a change in circumstances.

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