September 26, 2014 By Paul Wallin

Divorce can impact  your entire life. Divorce often forces both  parties of the marriage to divide the property that was acquired during the course of their marriage (also known as  community property). Not only are former spouses often compelled to determine how to divide their community property, but  one party  is often required to support the other party of the marriage after the divorce.

In cases such as this, the court will issue a notice known as a Gavron Warning to the supported party that he or she is required to make a considerable effort to become self-supporting. This will have a significant impact on your spousal support order.

What is Spousal Support?

Gavron warning divorce
Spousal support and divorce

Spousal support is a court-ordered monthly payment made by one party of the former marriage, to the other party. Spousal support exists in order to allow a party who is not self-sustaining to maintain the standard of living that was established during the course of the marriage.

Depending on the specific circumstances of a divorce, a judge may order one party of a divorce to pay for the support of the other party for a certain period of time. It is important to note, however, that spousal support is not intended to last forever.

Recipients of spousal support, as well as those making spousal support payments, should be aware of how a Gavron Warning may be ordered by the court as a means by which to compel modification or terminate spousal support.

What is a Gavron Warning?

A Gavron Warning is a notice  issued by the court to a supported spouse, which states that he or she is expected to become self-supporting. A Gavron Warning is frequently issued to the supported spouse at the time the spousal support order is made. The warning essentially compels the supported spouse to make all reasonable efforts to become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time.

Origin of the Gavron Warning

The term “Gavron Warning” comes from the case Marriage of Gavron, which was decided by the Second Appellate District Court of California in 1988. In this case, the court determined that before a spousal support order can be modified or terminated, the court must first give the supported party notice of  his or her obligation to become self-sufficient. This case sparked a trend in family law courts in California. Courts began moving away from the notion of permanent spousal support orders and, instead, began requiring supported spouses to  make efforts to become self-supporting.

After the Gavron case was decided, the California legislature later codified the Gavron Warning.  into California law, under Family Code Section 4330 in the year 2000.  Family Code 4330 now states, “When making an order for spousal support, the court may advise the recipient of support that he or she should make reasonable efforts to assist in providing for his or her support needs…” Thus, the Gavron Warning is now a part of  California  law and those obtaining a divorce or paying/receiving spousal support should be aware of how this law may affect them.

What it Means to Receive a Gavron Warning

If a supported ex-spouse receives a court-ordered Gavron Warning, he or she must take necessary steps to become self-sufficient within a reasonable period of time. It is important to note that Gavron Warnings are not always issued when requested by the supporting party. According to Family Code 4330, depending on the circumstances of a particular case involving a marriage of long duration( a marriage lasting over ten years), a court may decide that a Gavron Warning is inadvisable.

What is Considered a “Reasonable Period of Time”?

Gavron Warning
A Gavron Warning could help you.

The court gives the supported spouse a “reasonable period of time” to become self-supporting.  What is considered a reasonable period of time  may differ depending on the length of the particular marriage. California Family Code Section 4320 defines that for marriages lasting less than 10 years, a supported spouse will have half of the length of the marriage to become self supporting.

However, marriages of long duration, or marriages that lasted more than 10 years, are viewed differently in terms of how a Gavron Warning will affect a spousal support order.  It is important to note that courts have the discretion to take into account periods of separation when determining whether a marriage will be considered a marriage of “long duration”.  If the court does issue a Gavron Warning in a spousal support order for a marriage of long duration, the supported spouse will need to make a reasonable effort to become self-sufficient from the time the supported party receives the warning. The court will then consider the efforts made by the supported spouse at future spousal support modification and termination hearings.

What to Do if You Receive a Gavron Warning?

If you receive a Gavron Warning, the best thing to do is to take reasonable steps to become self-supporting. Failure to take these steps may result in modification or termination of your spousal support. Your attorney may be able to help you get the maximum amount of spousal support from the supporting spouse and can help counsel you as you search for employment.

Additionally, a supporting party who wishes to issue a Gavron Warning to their spouse should contact a family law attorney to help bring the case to court. An attorney can help by arguing to reduce spousal support if the supporting party is able to partially support him or her self. Additionally, in cases where the supported ex-spouse fails to obtain a means of self-sufficiency, your attorney can request a vocational examination to determine whether the supported spouse is able to work.

Call the Divorce Lawyers at Wallin & Klarich Today

spousal support attorneys
Our spousal support attorneys can help you obtain a Gavron Warning.

At Wallin & Klarich, we understand that it can be difficult to support yourself without spousal support. However, failure to abide by a Gavron Warning may result in a modification or termination of your spousal support. For this reason, it is important that you seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney immediately. Our knowledgeable attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully helping our clients with spousal support matters. Let us help you today.

With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks, our knowledgeable attorneys are available to help you no matter where you are located.

Call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

1 comment

  1. Married 22 years then separated and divorced. Does the court look at what the spouse did to try to become self sufficient? Is it advisable to write a letter from the attorney to advise the spouse to look for work. If it has been years since the spouse has not worked and only 1 year since the Gavron warning was given, when can spousal support be contested? CA is horrible making the other spouse work and letting the other spouse do all the work. That is not right.

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