If you receive alimony payments, you may be wondering whether the payment amount can be increased. This blog post will provide information on when post-judgment modifications are permissible, how to go about properly requesting an increase in spousal support, and what to expect during the process.
When Can Alimony (or Spousal Support) Be Modified?
Either party can file for a modification if there has been a material change in circumstance. Common reasons the court will consider a modification include:
- A loss of income
- An increase in income or assets
- A loss of assets
- An increase in expenses (because of health-related issues, etc.)
If the increase in your expenses is because of your children or their needs, you should petition for an increase in child support—not alimony. The petitioning process is similar.
How to Petition to Modify Long-Term Support Orders in CA
To request a change in your long-term spousal support orders, you will need to file a Request for Order form (form FL-300). You will need to include what order you want and why you are filing (your legal grounds) as well as complete the “Facts to Support” section. You should also complete:
- form FL-157, the Spousal or Domestic Partner Support Declaration Attachment,and
- an Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-150).
Once you’ve completed those forms, you can attach documents to support your case, including documents that support your legal grounds for filing. If you do not have evidence ready, you can file those documents separately.
Next, you will need to make copies of and file our forms at your local court. Filing fees are typically about $60 unless you have a waiver. Once you’ve filed, the court clerk will give you your hearing date and stamp the forms. You will also need to have the other party served with the papers to ensure the other party knows about the court date and petition.
At the hearing, the judge will ask both parties questions and allow you to submit evidence to support your reasoning for modification. The judge may ask if you (or your attorney) wish to make any additional statements that are not included in your paperwork. A judgment about the petition will also be made at the hearing.
It is also important to note that if you and your ex-partner can agree on a new alimony payment. You can submit your written and signed agreement to the court to avoid having a hearing and leaving the determination up to the court. However, if you and your ex-spouse cannot agree, you will need to prepare to argue your case at your court hearing.
While either party can file for a modification if there has been a material change in circumstance, it may be hard to persuade the court that you need an increase in payment. You should consult with an attorney as they can give you honest and wise counsel concerning how successful your petition might be.
For instance, if you petition for an increase in payments because of the payee’s increase in income, the court may argue that the support payments were calculated based on the standard of living established during your marriage (amongst other factors). Even in cases where you can argue that you helped the other party further their education or improve their career prospects (that allowed for the raise), the court may not consider that a reason for the increase.
Get Help with Your Post-Judgment Modification
At The Neshanian Law Firm, Inc, our attorneys have the skills and experience needed to help you with a post-judgment modification case. If you are ready to get started with a petition to increase your alimony payments, our firm can review your case, advise on whether you have the legal grounds to proceed, address your concerns, and help you build a solid case.
To discuss your case with a member of our team, schedule a 15-minute phone consultation today by calling (949) 577-7935.