When couples go through a divorce, one of the two spouses that are dependent on the other financially is awarded spousal support. The concept behind spousal support is to ensure that the standard of living experienced during the marriage is maintained to a reasonable extent post-divorce.
Is the court order at the time of divorce the final order, fixed for life and set in stone or are there some ways that a person can look to reduce the spousal support that is awarded to the other spouse? The answer is that yes, spousal support can be reduced.
The first step is to understand and analyze the spousal support order
If you are planning to go to court and apply for a modification request, you first need to read and understand the spousal support order. You cannot simply go to court with a modification request on the original spousal support order not knowing what it is and hope that the courts rule in your favor. Take a look at the support order, analyze it and check what if any provisions for modification (or non-modifiability) are outlined in the order.
The second step is to analyze the change of circumstances of your spouse since the last order
One of the most important reasons for a modification or reduction in spousal support is largely dependent upon the changing circumstances of spousal support. Changing circumstances simply means how the current condition of the spouse is different from when the spousal support was ordered. There are many types of such changes. Some of the most common ones are:
- You income having fallen below the level that it was when the spousal support was ordered
- There has been a significant increase in the income of your ex-spouse who is receiving spousal support
- Your ex-spouse has started to cohabitate with another member of the opposite sex
The last step is proving your claim through evidence
The first and the second step come down to how well you perform in this step. Once you have identified having had a change of circumstances and analyzed what the order asked you to do and what not to do. What you need to see is whether your grounds of circumstances are actually true. This needs to be shown through proper documents which can include financial documents and testimony.
Gerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law lawyer and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.