Alimony, also referred to as spousal maintenance or spousal support, is a series of payments made by one spouse to the other spouse during or after their divorce. Like many ongoing obligations after a divorce, spousal support payments can be modified when certain facts and circumstances exist. You must follow the proper procedures, however, to make sure modification is successful.
Under California law, most alimony payments can be modified. At Murphy Family Law, we will guide you through the process. We understand it is important to keep any Spousal Support order updated to reflect the realities of both parties. If you want to request a modification to a Spousal Support order, rely on us to provide the guidance and representation you need.
Factors to Obtain Modifications to Spousal Support Payments
To modify court-ordered Spousal Support, the court will consider any number of factors. Some of these factors could include:
- Changes in employment and the reasons for the changes (e.g., a demotion due to company-wide changes versus poor performance)
- Impairment of either spouse's earning capacity (e.g., one spouse was injured and cannot perform the same job functions)
- How long payments have been made versus how much longer until they are terminated (e.g., paid only for one year versus ten years)
- Whether the supported party has made an effort to become self-sufficient (e.g., long-term, progressive work experience versus sporadic work)
Depending on your jurisdiction, a court can consider any other factor it considers relevant. If the modification is approved, the court will confirm the payment increase or decrease in the new order granting the modification.
Enforcement of Modified Spousal Support in California
The existing spousal support order remains in effect until the petition to modify is approved by the court. Failure to continue abiding by the existing order can result in arrears. You could also be held in contempt of court, resulting in the possible issuance of a bench warrant for your arrest.
The same is true once the order granting modification is issued. The ex-spouse paying alimony must comply with the order or else risk arrears, contempt of court, and other possible civil and criminal penalties.
Contact Murphy Family Law for Modification of Spousal Support
It's important to make sure you follow the proper procedures and provide adequate support for your reason to modify a current spousal support order. Not doing so can render your petition for modification useless. A family law lawyer can help you in this effort. So, if you need a modification to an existing alimony order, contact Murphy Family Law today at (530) 433-0801 or online.