FAQs about Modifications

1) If I am receiving spousal support from my former spouse and my new significant other lives with me, will I receive less in spousal support?

It depends. California Family Code Section 4323 states, “There is a rebuttable presumption…of a decreased need for spousal support if the supported party is cohabitating with a person of the opposite sex.” This means that if you are cohabitating with a person of the opposite sex, your former spouse can raise this fact as a reason for requesting to reduce or terminate spousal support to you.

It is important to note that this is a rebuttable presumption. This means that you can present evidence to the family court that you do not have a decreased need for spousal support. When determining whether you have a decreased need, the court can take into consideration the income of the person that you are living with. If you can convince the court that your cohabitant’s income does not decrease your need for support, then the spousal support that you are receiving will not be reduced.

If you are cohabitating with a member of the same-sex, then it may be more difficult for your former spouse to show that you have a reduced need for support. While strides have been made so that same-sex couples are treated in the same manner as opposite-sex couples, the system is not perfect. In same-sex cohabitation cases, the rebuttable presumption does not exist. Thus, it will be incumbent on the person seeking to reduce the spousal support payments to show that the former spouse has a reduced need for support, based on the cohabitation. Upon that showing, you will need to produce evidence that you do not have a reduced need for support.

2) I have been accused of domestic violence against someone who is completely unrelated to my child custody case. Can my child’s other parent use this against me to reduce my visitation?

Under California Family Code Section 3011, the courts look to the best interest of the child to determine custodial arrangements. Family courts have very wide discretion in making child custody and visitation orders. Any history of domestic violence or abuse can be taken into consideration when making a determination of child custody or visitation.

If you have been accused of domestic violence, or you have a domestic violence restraining order, or other criminal protective order, against you, it is imperative that you refute these claims in order to protect your rights to child custody and visitation. Domestic violence matters are very complex and the other parent of your child can raise any of these issues in requesting a child custody modification. If you are facing domestic violence allegations and have been served with a child custody modification, you should contact an experienced child custody modification attorney immediately.

3) My former spouse intentionally misrepresented factual circumstances regarding his or her income at the time that my support orders were made. Can I modify my support order to reflect my former spouse’s actual income?

This depends. While you can always request a modification of a child or spousal support order if there has been a change in circumstances that warrants a change in the amount of support that you are receiving, this may not be the best option for you.

A more appropriate option may be to file a motion to set aside the court’s orders based on fraud, perjury, or failure to comply with disclosures. If you are able to prove that there was some sort of fraud, perjury, or failure to comply with disclosures, you may be able to request to have your former spouse pay your attorney fees for having to make a motion with the court. Your former spouse may also face monetary sanctions with the court and even criminal penalties for misrepresenting his or her financial situation.

4) I have been laid off from my job and have a child support obligation. Will a court reduce my child support obligations if I have other financial resources that can sustain me well into the future?

Child support orders are made for the benefit of your child. A court will not necessarily reduce your child support obligation if you have financial resources that can sustain you well into the future. If the family court determines that you can continue to provide the same support level, despite the loss of your job, your request for a child support modification may be denied.

There are many factors that the family courts take into consideration when ordering or modifying child support. If you can continue to pay at the current support levels and it would be detrimental to your child to reduce your support payments, then a judge will likely deny your modification request. As all post-judgment modification issues are extremely complex, you should not attempt to request a modification without the assistance of an experienced child support modification attorney.

5) Where can I find a Post-Judgment Modifications Attorney in San Bernardino?

Post-Judgment Modifications are very complex legal matters. Post-Judgment modifications can be particularly frustrating matters, as orders have already been made in your case and the reason for wanting a change is because you are unhappy with the orders.

At Wallin & Klarich, we approach every case with the belief that our clients could be one of our own family members. Our experienced San Bernardino family law attorneys are committed to handling our cases with the utmost care, as well as being available to our clients at all times. With offices located in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, Torrance, West Covina, Sherman Oaks, Victorville, San Bernardino, and Ventura, Wallin & Klarich will always be available to you wherever you happen to live.

To speak with a Wallin & Klarich family law attorney today, please call (888) 749-7428. We will be there when you call.

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