We are often asked if there is an end to spousal support during or after a San Diego divorce. When and why is spousal support ordered and when does it come to an end? If there has been a substantial change in the finances of either the payor or the recipient of spousal support will the amount of the support change?
Spousal support is a financially and legally complex issue. Unlike child support, where there is a somewhat formalized financial calculation, spousal support is much less formulaic. California family law establishes dozens of factors which the Judge must take into consideration when determining the need for, amount and duration of spousal support.
There are two types of spousal support. Temporary support is ordered during the process of the divorce. Temporary spousal support ends at the end of the divorce, or when the Judge issues differing orders. Permanent support is established toward the end or at the end of the divorce process. The final orders issued by the Judge in your divorce case are known as “permanent orders” but this doesn’t mean they last forever. When is there an end to spousal support during or after a San Diego support?
Any orders issued by the Court remain in effect until the expiration date established by the Judge at the time of the orders, or one of the parties requests a modification or termination. In many cases spousal support is ordered for a period of a few years to provide the time for one of the former spouses to become more financially self-sufficient. In these cases the Judge establishes the duration of spousal support at the time of the order.
In cases where the underlying marriage lasted longer than 10 years spousal support orders may extend for a much longer period of time. What happens if there is a substantial financial change in the life of the payor or recipient of spousal support once spousal support orders are in place?
It is absolutely possible and appropriate to request a post-decree modification or termination of spousal support when there is a substantial change in the financial circumstances. The Court requires a substantial change in the “Status Quo” in order to request a hearing for a change in spousal support. This can include but is not limited to:
- A substantial change in the income of the recipient or a loss of income or a job for the payor
- If the recipient remarries or moves in with another partner it may be grounds to request a modification or an end to spousal support in your case
- The recipient receives a substantial financial benefit (lottery, inheritance) or substantial increase in earnings
- The Judge established a timeframe for the recipient to become self-sufficient and that time has elapsed