Losing a job, or even suffering a loss in pay due to demotion or lack of business when you are an independent contractor, often means less money to pay your expenses and maintain your regular lifestyle. If you are receiving spousal support (also called alimony) from an ex-spouse in California, you may be able to take action to increase the amount of money you are receiving so that you can meet your expenses and maintain your lifestyle.
This process is called spousal support modification, and will require going to court to create a higher enforceable obligation on the part of your ex-spouse. Although an ex-spouse may agree to provide higher spousal support payments voluntarily (and that’s great if he or she does), this promise will only be enforceable if a court orders the modification.
Spousal Support Modifications in California
To obtain a modification upwards in your monthly spousal support, you will need to present evidence to the court that there has been a material change in circumstances in your life since the time the original support order was made which justifies the modification. Common reasons which could justify a modification upwards include:
- The loss of a job
- Unexpected increase in expenses (e.g. increased medical costs)
- The loss of your ability to work, such as due to health care issues
- Lower income from a business
- More income being received by your ex-spouse
The other spouse may contest your request for an increase in spousal support, and the court may hear evidence from both sides on whether a material change in circumstances has indeed occurred. For example, your ex-spouse may argue that you are able to obtain another similar-paying job quickly.
Making Your Best Case for Spousal Support Modification
By working with a family law attorney experienced in spousal support modification, you can make your strongest, most compelling arguments to the court for why you should receive a modification upwards. Your attorney will collect evidence on your behalf, present facts to the court, and counter any opposing arguments from the ex-spouse against the modification.
Keep in mind that your ex-spouse may also pursue a modification downward in spousal support if he or she has suffered a financial setback or believes there has been a material change in circumstances on your part (e.g. higher income, lower expenses, etc.) which justify the modification.
Legal Guidance in Your California Spousal Support Modification Matter
To schedule a consultation regarding your situation and any questions you have about spousal support and other family law matters in California, contact one of the family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Omar Gastelum and Associates, PLC today.