Spousal support represents a spouse’s obligation to provide financial support to a spouse in need after a divorce or separation.

However, spousal support is generally not meant to be permanent. Lifetime spousal support may be awarded in certain circumstances, but in most cases, there will be terms with which the spousal support amount is tied to.

For marriages less than ten years, support is generally awarded for half the length of the marriage. For longer marriages, the support may not be given a set termination date, however in most cases, it will be considered temporary support until the spouse becomes self-supporting.

Other situations may arise where the spouse needs more support, doesn’t need as much support or any support at all. Circumstantial changes in the life of either the supported spouse or the supporting spouse can call for a modification or termination of an existing spousal support order.

Spousal support is modified in the same manner it is ordered or terminated, by filing a Request for Order. You will receive a court date and need to serve the other party and attend your hearing. A common reason for spousal support to be changed or ended is when the supported spouse remarries or otherwise enters into a relationship where their costs of living are shared. Cohabitation is when the supported spouse begins cohabitating with another person, thus reducing their living costs. When the original spousal support amount was determined, one of the deciding factors was the cost of living for the supported spouse.

When that cost of living changes significantly, the spousal support amount should be modified. The supporting spouse, or payee, does not have the obligation to pay for any share of living costs for the new person added to the living arrangement. For example, if the supported spouse got a roommate and split the rent or mortgage in half, the supporting spouse no longer is responsible for covering that other half of the housing cost. Or, if the supported spouse gets a part-time job or side work and still needs some support to meet basic living expenses, but does not need the full originally awarded amount, a modification may be called for.

Are you in the Los Angeles or Beverley Hills area and have questions about spousal support? Certified Family Law Specialist Mark H. Karney can provide extensive experience handling complex divorce cases to ensure you end up with a support order that looks out for your best interests now and in the future. Serving Los Angeles County, attorney Mark H. Karney can provide expert counsel for all your family law needs. Call our office at 310-564-5710; email us at intake@cfli.com or contact us through our online form today to schedule a free consultation.