What to Do if You Can’t Afford Your Spousal Support

Child and spousal support, Divorce settlement

Spousal support is ordered based on a person’s current financial situation. What happens when that changes? Know what to do if you pay spousal support to a former spouse and can no longer afford that much, or pay it at all.

What To Know About Spousal Support 

When a spousal support order is made, the court must take into consideration the then-current financial circumstances of the parties.

For a temporary support order made while a case is pending a final judgment, the process is more straightforward. The courts can, and do, use computer programs to determine the amount of temporary spousal support.

Since the order is temporary, the order can often be modified over its duration, though temporary could be several years.

 

Long-Term Spousal Support 

When we talk about long-term spousal support, the courts look at many more factors in setting the amount of support, including the length of the marriage, the age, and education of the parties, and much more as set forth in Family Code section 4320. The parties could agree in their final judgment that such an order is unable to be modified, but most of the time an order is subject to modification or termination based on a significant change of circumstances.

If you lose your job, become disabled, retire and thus have lower income, or if you remarry and have children this could change your financial circumstances so much that the court could agree that your spousal support should change or terminate.

 

Modifying a Spousal Support Order

To start the process of seeking a modification or termination of spousal support, you will need to file a motion, called a Request for Order in California. This will give you a court date and time and once filed you need to have the other party served with this order, usually by mail by someone other than yourself.

You will also need to prepare and serve an Income and Expense Declaration and give the other party copies of your most recent pay stubs. Be prepared to bring additional financial information to court, such as tax returns, retirement documents, Social Security award notices, bank records, and the like. 

The Family Court Division in San Diego has very specific rules about exhibits and submitting evidence and documents during any motion hearings.  Read these rules and talk them over with your attorney, who will know best how to handle these items and the proper procedures to follow.

 

Contact Us for Legal Assistance 

The experienced attorneys at JWB Family Law are able to help you navigate the spousal support modification process. Our dedicated staff can provide you with the necessary legal assistance and support that you need.

Contact our office today to schedule your discreet consultation at our San Diego location.

 

The Importance of the CFLS Designation

A Certified Family Law Specialist, or CFLS, is an attorney who has obtained certification in the standards of California family law and demonstrated optimal legal competence. Attorneys who obtain this certification have specific expertise in all aspects of family law, which includes divorce or the dissolution of marriagechild and spousal support, child custody, and temporary restraining orders, among other areas of emphasis.

Not every attorney practicing family law has obtained this certification. In fact, the designation remains relatively rare—there are fewer than 2,000 CFLS attorneys in California and fewer than 200 in San Diego.

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