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Should you modify your support decree?

It's no secret that most divorce settlements are born out of compromise. Divorcing parties choose to give up something in exchange for foregoing protracted litigation that could (or could not) give them something bigger.

Spousal support agreements are common in divorce settlements. But when life happens, and support payments are no longer feasible for the person ordered to pay, what happens next? A support modification may be a realistic option. This post will briefly explain. 

California law allows spousal support obligations to be modified if it is shown that a substantial change in circumstances has adversely affected the obligor's ability to make such payments. The reasoning behind this is that a person charged with making support payments must be able to meet other reasonable financial obligations (i.e. rent, insurance, food).

The overarching question in modification cases is whether the change in circumstances is actually substantial enough to merit a change. Because of this, a family court judge will analyze a number of factors, including the age and current financial resources of the parties, whether the change circumstances occurred through any fault of the parties (particularly the obligor) and whether a party has violated the current order, to name a few.

Regardless of the situation, it is important to present a formal modification request before support payments are missed or an order is otherwise violated. To that end, an experienced family law attorney can advise you of the chances of a successful modification.

The preceding is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. 

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