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Requesting a Spousal Support Modification


The court may award alimony, or spousal support, to a lower-earning spouse to help them readjust to single life. These payments can be temporary or permanent depending on a couple’s financial circumstances and divorce settlement negotiations. Alimony provides an ex-spouse with the support they need to seek new educational and occupational opportunities with the ultimate goal of attaining financial stability. A paying spouse can provide these payments to the receiving spouse in one lump sum payment or in monthly installments.

Per California law, spousal support can only be modified or terminated under specific conditions. Also, the court needs to approve any changes to the court-ordered alimony payments. In other words, you can’t just demand more money or stop making payments.

Alimony can be modified or terminated under the following conditions:

  • One ex-spouse dies
  • The receiving ex-spouse gets married
  • The receiving ex-spouse moves in with a romantic partner
  • There is a significant change in either party’s financial circumstances

Both paying and receiving ex-spouses can request spousal support modifications. However, the court will only grant a modification or termination if the requesting spouse can prove they are suffering a considerable and lasting change in their financial situation. It’s important to modify your spousal support order as soon as possible so that it reflects your current standard of living.

People often wait too long to change their spousal support orders because:

  • They think their change in circumstances is temporary
  • They aren’t in a position to file court paperwork
  • They believe they can change the order later

If you wait too long, the court may not be able to effectively alter the court order. The court uses its own discretion when making a final determination, but typically won’t permit a spouse to suffer avoidable financial ruin. For example, if a paying ex-spouse is fired, he or she can’t be expected to provide the same alimony payments. Consequently, the court may agree to modify or terminate the original court order. However, if the paying ex-spouse gets a lower-paying job 6 months later and then requests a modification, the court may not be able to comply.

Modify Your Alimony Payments Today

If you’re interested in modifying or terminating your spousal support order, contact the Fresno spousal support attorneys at Arnold Law Group, APC. We can evaluate your personal and financial circumstances and use this information to develop a reasonable argument that can be used in court.

Contact Arnold Law Group, APC at (559) 900-1263 if you have questions about your divorce settlement or need to make post-divorce modifications.

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