Many people believe that once a spousal support order is made by the court, it cannot be changed. In some situations this may not be the case. For example, what if your ex-spouse moves in with a current significant other? Can you use this fact to reduce your spousal obligations?
Cohabitation Can Reduce Spousal Support in California (California Family Code Section 4323)
California Family Code Section 4323 says that an ex-spouse who lives with a non-marital partner has a reduced need for support.1 In order to reduce your spousal support obligations, there are a few things that your skilled California spousal support attorney must show the court.
In order to reduce your spousal support obligation, your experienced attorney must show that your ex-spouse is cohabiting with a non-marital partner. What exactly does “cohabitation” mean? Cohabitation means more than a simple roommate arrangement. There must be a showing of a sexual, romantic, or a “homemaker-companion” relationship.2
Although you would think that it is strong evidence if your ex-spouse is claiming to be living with a new spouse, such a fact is not enough to show cohabitation.3 Your attorney must show there is more to your ex-spouse’s relationship, as stated above.
Limitation in Reducing Spousal Support
Although your family law attorney must show a cohabitation situation between your ex-spouse and a non-marital partner, not all evidence can be considered to reduce your spousal support obligation. You cannot bring the income of your ex-spouse’s non-marital partner as evidence that your spousal support obligation should be reduced.4
This means even if your ex-spouse’s non-marital partner is earning millions of dollars, the family court cannot consider that fact in determining whether to reduce your spousal support obligations.
Reduction is Not Automatic
Although a showing of cohabitation is strong evidence, such a showing will not automatically reduce your spousal support obligation. Once your experienced spousal support attorney proves cohabitation, your former spouse then has the burden to show that they still need support.
You Can Attempt to Modify Your Spousal Support Later
In the event the court refuses to modify your spousal support payments to your ex-spouse after you have proven cohabitation, you may be able to bring this issue back to court again. However, to do so you will have to show a “substantial change in circumstances” in the financial situation of you and your former spouse.
Call the Spousal Support Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
Reducing your spousal support payments is no easy task. That is why it is extremely important to speak with an experienced spousal support attorney who can help you navigate this complicated process. If you wish to have your spousal support obligation reduced, contact Wallin & Klarich today. Our experienced attorneys have been successfully representing our clients in spousal support and family law matters for over 30 years.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. Family Code Section 4323↩
2. In re Marriage of Regnery (1989) 214 Cal. App. 3d 1367.↩
3. Family Code Section 4323(a)(2)↩
4. Family Code Section 4323(b)↩