Spousal support is intended to allow both parties to afford similar lifestyles after divorce. Either party may be required to pay spousal support, or the court may determine that neither party needs it. Regardless of the provisions of the divorce decree, support payments are not guaranteed to continue forever.

People’s lives never stop changing, which is why the California Family Code allows modifications to the spousal support arrangements in many situations, including:

  • Remarriage or even cohabitation by the supported former spouse may be grounds for the court to reduce or eliminate spousal support payments.
  • Either party can seek changes to spousal support based on changed financial circumstances. The paying party may cite reduced income. Or, he or she can show a substantial increase in the ex-spouse’s income as grounds for reducing or stopping payments.
  • The termination of a child support order can be the basis for modification of spousal support, but only in certain circumstances.

As a knowledgeable California spousal support lawyer, I often encourage my clients to negotiate modifications out of court before presenting them to the court for approval. Negotiations can address changes to any provisions of the original support order, including the amount and duration of the payments, and the events that can trigger their termination.

Before agreeing to any spousal support arrangement, you need to understand the long-term effects. An experienced California divorce attorney can help you understand the potential consequences of your decisions.