October 16, 2013 By Paul Wallin

After a judgment has been entered and your divorce or legal separation has been finalized, a large sense of relief may come over you. But what happens when there are support orders that you can no longer afford to pay. Although judgment orders are considered final orders, this does not prohibit you from being able to modify your judgment orders if there has been a material change of circumstances since the date your judgment was entered. If you are seeking to terminate or modify spousal support in Newport Beach, you need to speak with an experienced Newport Beach family law attorney at Wallin & Klarich.

What is a Material Change of Circumstances?

modify spousal support in Newport Beach
You can modify spousal support in Newport Beach if you can no longer afford the payments. It is important you contact an experienced family law attorney for help.

Under IRMO Dietz (2009) 176 Cal.App.4th 387, 396, “Modification of spousal support, even if the prior amount is established by agreement, requires a material change of circumstances since the last order.” A change in financial circumstances, including a decrease in monthly income, is measured from the date of the last order, not the date of separation.

Additionally, any post-judgment modification of spousal support requires the court to reconsider the criteria list in Family Code Section 4320. The criteria include:

  • The age and health of the parties;
  • The marital standard of living;
  • Any history of domestic violence between the parties; and
  • The length of the marriage.

If you are seeking to modify spousal support, you have the burden of showing to the court that there has been a “material change since the entry of the previous order” (IRMO Schmir (2005) 134 Cal.App.4th 43, 47). When the court has included a settlement agreement into its own orders, the court “presumes that the parties arrived at a fair support award, after arm’s-length negotiations that took into consideration all of the circumstances as they then existed [at the time the agreement was entered into].” (IRMO Hentz (1976) 57 Cal.App.3d 899, 901)

Recent Modification of Spousal Support Case

In a recent case, the husband, under an agreement that was incorporated into the judgment, was ordered to pay his ex-wife $6,500.00 per month as spousal support. At the time of the agreement, the husband earned $19,145 per month. A few years later, husband’s income had decreased to $13,382 per month – a decrease of approximately $6,000.

Husband requested that the spousal support order be modified due to the material change of circumstances since the entry of the judgment. Although husband was still earning more than what he was earning at the time the parties separated, there was still a material change of circumstance since the last order. Therefore, the court, while reconsidering the factors of Family Code Section 4320, was able to modify the spousal support order and decrease the amount of support to be paid.

Wallin & Klarich Can Help You Modify Spousal Support in Newport Beach

Has there been a change in your financial situation? Has there been an increase of income for the spouse you are supporting? If so, then it is important that you get your support orders modified immediately in order to save money. At Wallin & Klarich, our experienced, skilled and knowledgeable attorneys can help you attempt to modify your support order and may be able to terminate the order based on the circumstances in your case.

With offices located in Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, West Covina, Victorville and Ventura, we are available wherever you happen to live. Call us today at (888) 749-7428. We will get through this together.

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