Modification of Alimony: Modifying my Orange County Spousal Support Order/Alimony agreement
Modifying Your Orange County Spousal Support Order
Spousal and partner support orders may be issued in California when a marriage or registered domestic partnership comes to an end. The goal of a spousal support or partner support order is to allow both parties to maintain a standard of living that is similar to what was established during the marriage or registered domestic partnership.
However, there are certain things that can render an existing support order useless, and there are reasons why it may need to be modified.
If you have questions about why or how a spousal or partner support order can be modified, always as an attorney in your area. A lawyer will be able to help you understand the law, how it works, and how it applies to your situation. Working with a skilled attorney can also help you build a stronger case, and improve your chances of obtaining your desired outcome in a modification case.
Can I Modify My Spousal Or Partner Support Order in California?
There are many reasons to modify a spousal support order in California. If you are wondering about modifications, or considering asking for a modification, always discuss your options with an attorney. However, keep in mind that the longer you wait, the worse your situation may become. Your current partner or support order is valid and legally enforceable until the new order has been created, and approved and signed by a judge. The party who is responsible for making payments can be liable for those payments until the modification has been signed and approved.
Spousal and partner support orders may be modified for many reasons - as long as there is a change in circumstances.
• Partner and spousal support orders may be modified if the receiving party no longer needs support. This might occur if the receiving party has obtained gainful employment and can support his or her lifestyle without the assistance of support, or for other reasons.
• Partner and spousal support orders may be modified if the receiving party remarries or enters into a new registered domestic partnership, or in some cases, if the receiving party is cohabiting with a new partner.
• Spousal or partner support orders may be modified if the paying party has a significant drop in income, or for another reason is unable to afford the support payments. This can also occur if the paying party is incarcerated or hospitalized.
• Spousal or partner support orders may be modified if the receiving party has not made a good faith effort to become self sustaining, usually through seeking gainful employment within a reasonable amount of time. Spousal support and partner support are generally not intended to allow either spouse to remain at home without working indefinitely.
• Partner or spousal support orders may be modified if the receiving spouse has an increase in income as well.
Usually, spousal and partner support are calculated according to the California guidelines for calculating spousal support. It is not meant to last forever; the goal is for both spouses or partners to eventually become financially independent of one another.
If you already have a spousal or partner support order in place, it is possible for you and your partner or spouse to come to an agreement as to how that should change. However, it is important to remember that until a judge approves and signs your new agreement, the existing order can still be legally enforced. Always have your court order legally modified by a judge so that as the paying party you are not responsible for paying according to an outdated court order, and as the receiving party, you are receiving an appropriate amount of support.
It is important that you don’t wait too long to modify your court order for the same reason. If changes are occurring rapidly, it is always best to modify the order now, and if it needs to be modified later, modify it again. It is unlikely that your new court order will need immediate re-modification.
Spousal and partner support cannot be modified retroactively, so until the judge signs the new order, both parties are responsible for living up to the terms of the existing support order.
The Process of Modifying a Partner or Spousal Support Order in California
Sometimes, both parties will be able to agree on the modification of their shared spousal or partner support order. If this is the case, both parties should have an attorney look over their shared agreement before submitting it to the judge. They may or may not be required to attend a hearing regarding their order. If the judge approves the agreement, the parties may not have much to do in order to get a new support order. An attorney can help you understand the final steps in your county, because they can vary depending on where you live in California.
However, if you and your spouse or partner cannot come to an agreement on your own as to how a spousal or partner support order should be modified, you will need to go through the California court system. There is a process in place for the modification of spousal and partner support orders.
First, you will need to fill out your court forms. Forms may vary slightly depending on the county in which you are filing your claim. However, you should look for something similar to these:
• A Request for Order - This form tells the court what you are looking to do: file a motion to modify a spousal or partner support order.
• An Income and Expense Declaration - This tells the court what your current expenses are, and what your income is. This will be factored into the support calculation.
• You may also need a Declaration, or a Spousal or Partner Support Declaration Attachment.
Ask your lawyer if these are all of the forms you need, or if you have any county specific forms that you need in addition to these. Ask your lawyer to look over your forms to make sure they are filled out correctly and completely.
Once your forms are complete, you will need to file them with the court. The clerk will stamp these forms for you, and then it is your responsibility to serve them on the other party (the other person who will be affected by the modification of the order). There are several ways that serving a court order can be done, so make sure to ask your lawyer about how to serve the forms, which forms need to be served, and by what deadline the other party needs to receive the forms.
You do have the option of hiring a process server, which can make serving the forms on the other party simpler. The next step is to file the Proof of Service with the court, which serves as proof that the other party has received a copy of the court papers.
Next, you will need to attend your court hearing. You will probably not be required to attend mediation, but you do have the option if you wish to work out your support issues outside of court. At the court hearing, make sure to bring copies of all of your paperwork, including your proof of service, and your income and expense declaration.
Your judge will make his or her decision at the court hearing.
Following the hearing, the party who filed the initial paperwork with the court is responsible for preparing the order for the judge to sign. If this is your job, always ask your attorney for help and/or advice, because a simple mistake can render the order invalid.
There may or may not be further steps following the issuing of the court order, depending on your role in the modification, and the county in which you filed your request. Again, your lawyer can help you understand how to move forward and finalize your spousal or partner support order modification.
Terminating a Spousal or Partner Support Order
Another way to modify a spousal or partner support order is through termination. Usually, a support order will include details regarding termination within its terms, but if you wish to terminate early, it may be possible depending on your situation. Ask an attorney for assistance.
The process for terminating a spousal support order is similar to the process of modifying a continuing spousal or partner support order.
Orange County Spousal and Partner Support Order Modification Attorney
If you have questions about modifying a spousal or partner support order in California, always ask a lawyer for advice. Your attorney can help you understand the law and how it applies to your situation. At Yanez & Associates, we offer free initial consultations so that you can present your initial case, ask questions, and get to know us before committing to work with us.
Remember that waiting to move forward on a spousal or partner support order modification can have severe consequences. If you are ready to discuss your case with a qualified attorney, contact Yanez & Associates and schedule your free initial consultation today.
Table of Contents
- 1 Modifying Your Orange County Spousal Support Order
- 2 Can I Modify My Spousal Or Partner Support Order in California?
- 3 The Process of Modifying a Partner or Spousal Support Order in California
- 4 Terminating a Spousal or Partner Support Order
- 5 Orange County Spousal and Partner Support Order Modification Attorney