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Request to modify spousal support in California

A request to modify spousal support in California is the topic of this blog post.   Before the court can consider a request to modify spousal support the party requesting a modification of spousal support must file a notice of motion or request for order with the court in order to initiate the process.

California law is settled that the party that is requesting to modify spousal support has burden of showing a material change of circumstances since the date of the last spousal support order.

Published cases from the California Courts of Appeal have stated that a modification of spousal support is justified when the moving party has met their burden of demonstrating a material change of circumstances, since the last order was issued, in the relevant factors that affect need and ability to pay. A material change of circumstances is justified in situations where there has been a reduction or increase in the ability of the supporting spouse to pay and/or in situations where there has been a reduction or increase in the needs of the supported spouse. The trial court has very broad discretion in determining if a material change of circumstances exists.

Family Code § 3651(a) provides that, with specified exceptions, “a support order may be modified or terminated at any time as the court determines to be necessary.” An order for spousal support may not be modified or terminated, however, if the parties have agreed otherwise in a written agreement or in an oral agreement entered into in open court pursuant to Family Code § 3651(d).

Family Code § 4336(a) states in pertinent part that, “Except on written agreement of the parties to the contrary or a court order terminating spousal support, the court retains jurisdiction indefinitely in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage … where the marriage is of long duration.” Family Code § 4336(b) states in pertinent part that for the purpose of retaining jurisdiction, there is a presumption affecting the burden of producing evidence that a marriage of 10 years or more, from the date of marriage to the date of separation, is a marriage of long duration.

However a California Court of Appeal recently ruled in a published case that even if a marriage has been a lengthy one that by itself does not justify an unlimited spousal support award. Unless the supported spouse can show specific facts that prove that they are incapable of becoming self-supporting they cannot expect to receive spousal support payments indefinitely.

Attorney or parties in California that would like to view a 9 page sample points and authorities in support of a notice of motion or request for order to modify spousal support containing brief instructions, a memorandum of points and authorities with citations to case law and statutory authority and a sample declaration sold by the author can use the link shown below.

The author of this article, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995.

*Do you want to use this article on your website, blog or e-zine? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: “Stan Burman is the author of over 300 sample legal documents for California and Federal litigation and is the author of a free weekly legal newsletter. You can receive 10 free gifts just for subscribing. Just visit freeweeklylegalnewsletter.gr8.com/ for more information.

Follow the author on Twitter at: twitter.com/LegalDocsPro

View sample legal document packages for sale here: www.legaldocspro.com/downloads.aspx

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses

  1. What case is he referring to?

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    • The citations to the cases mentioned in the blog post are included in the sample points and authorities in support of a request to modify spousal support that you can view towards the bottom of the blog post.

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