San Jose Divorce Attorney Discusses the Change of Circumstances Requirement Necessary to Obtain a Modification of a Spousal Support Order
The change of circumstances necessary to obtain a modification of a spousal support order are the same as those the Court considers in making the initial long-term spousal support order at the time of the judgment under California Family Code Section 4320. They include, but are not limited to, the extent to which each party’s earning capacity will maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, the extent to which the supported party contributed to the supporting party’s attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license, the supporting party’s ability to pay, and each party’s needs based on the standard of living established during the marriage. It is important to note that even when a showing of changed circumstances is made, it does not necessarily mean a modification of spousal support will be ordered by the Court. A careful consideration of the factors set forth in California Family Code Section 4320 is necessary, especially the reasonable needs and financial abilities of the parties.
Like other aspects of spousal support, the change of circumstances requirement is subject to agreement of the parties. Thus, if the parties agree to modify spousal support, no showing of changed circumstances is necessary. The parties may also agree, as part of the spousal support provision, that specified occurrences will or will not constitute the required change of circumstances to allow for subsequent modifications of that provision. However, the required change of circumstances cannot be an event that was specified by a previous court order. The supported party’s cohabitation with a person of the opposite sex is a changed circumstance in which a rebuttable presumption arises. As such, the supported party has the burden to show that despite the relationship, his or her need for support has not diminished. The requisite cohabitation must be a sexual relationship, a romantic involvement, or at least a homemaker-companion relationship.
If you or someone you know has questions about spousal support or other aspects of family law such as the divorce process, child support, or child custody and visitation, please contact Sagaria Law. Our team of family law attorneys can answer any such questions you may have and assist you through the process. We represent clients from Santa Clara County, Alameda County, Monterey County, San Mateo County, and surrounding areas. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation to speak with one of our attorneys.