Changing Alimony Post-Divorce in California

Spouses may want to modify spousal support post-divorce. Here’s how to know if you can change alimony after a divorce in California.

Yes, you can change a spousal support order after a divorce in California. To change alimony, there must have been a “change in circumstances” since the retroactive court order. Basically, either the supported or supporting party’s financial situation must have significantly changed.

Increasing Alimony After a Divorce

There is a way for spouses to increase alimony payments after a divorce. For a California court to approve a spousal support modification, either the receiving spouse’s need for financial support has gone up, or the paying spouse’s gross income has increased.

Courts determine spousal support based mainly on two factors:

  • A spouse’s need for financial support
  • A spouse’s ability to pay

Therefore, a spouse’s ability to pay or need for financial support must increase in order for alimony to increased after a divorce. However, spousal support will never automatically change (unless stated in a court order). To increase alimony after a divorce, a spouse must complete and file the following forms:

The requesting spouse must prove to a judge why alimony should be increased.

Decreasing Alimony After a Divorce

Spouses can decrease alimony payments after a divorce if there has been a significant “change in circumstances”. California courts typically only change spousal support orders if the supported spouse needs less financial support, or if the person paying support (PPS) involuntarily lost their job or had a wage reduction.

Even if a PPS loses their job or income, they must continue paying spousal support until the court order has been legally modified or terminated. To decrease alimony after a divorce, the supporting spouse must fill out and file these forms:

In court, the PPS must prove to a judge why spousal support should be decreased

Ending Spousal Support After a Divorce

In California, spouses can request to end alimony after a divorce. The spouse requesting to end spousal support must show that there has been a “change in circumstances” regarding either the supported party’s need for financial support or the supporting party’s ability to pay.

Here are ways spousal support can end after a divorce:

  • The court order expires
  • The receiving spouse remarries or cohabitates with a nonmarital partner
  • The receiving spouse dies
  • The paying spouse dies
  • The paying spouse petitions to terminate spousal support

Free Consultation With a Spousal Support Attorney in California

If you need legal helping changing alimony after a divorce in California, contact us. Our lawyers help spouses successfully modify spousal support orders. Get your free consultation with one of our Spousal Support Attorneys in California today!