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Modification of Spousal Support Orders

If the supported party gets to a point where he or she doesn't need support, or the supporting party no longer has the ability to pay, the court can modify or terminate the order. This is often referred to as "changed circumstances." Further, the supported spouse has a duty to make reasonable efforts to get employment. So if the court finds that he or she is not making a good faith effort, then the spousal support may be modified and/or terminated. Furthermore, it is possible for the court to stop spousal support even when there has been no change of circumstances if the court believes it is the "just and equitable" thing to do.  Our experienced family law lawyers will have a good idea of whether a modification will benefit you or not.


Fixed–term orders: These spousal support orders are for a certain period of time. They basically expire when the court says so, however, the court usually keeps jurisdiction to make future changes if necessary. In fact, if the marriage is a "long duration" marriage, the court keeps jurisdiction indefinitely to make changes.

Contingent orders: The supporting party is obligated to pay spousal support until something happens. This is referred to as a contingency.

Remarriage/death: Unless there is some kind of agreement in writing, when the supported spouse dies or gets remarried, the supporting spouse's obligation to pay spousal support is terminated.


If the parties executed a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement regarding the support, then this usually takes precedence over California law. However, this doesn't apply to child support or custody agreements. The parties can't take away the power of the courts to award child support or oversee custody. Any agreement that tries to modify custody or child support is void and unenforceable.


If you need a divorce lawyer for spousal support and you are around Modesto or Stockton, call our family law attorneys today!

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