When spousal support is ordered, the order can include a date of termination of the support. This is the date the support order will no longer be valid. Generally, after this point, spousal support cannot be started again, save for very rare occasions when a significant change in circumstances presents itself.
For marriages less than 10 years, spousal support is commonly awarded for half the length of the marriage. For example, if a couple was married eight years, spousal support may be ordered for four years. For longer marriages, there may not be a termination date on the support order but the spousal support can still be ended under certain circumstances.
To end spousal support before the termination date, there must have been significant change in circumstances. For example, support may end if the payee, or receiving spouse, becomes self-supporting and no longer needs the support. It may also end when the payee remarries. If there is no end date or you are seeking to terminate the order before the end date, you will have to do so through the court. To be approved through the court, you, as the requester for the end of the order, must demonstrate a significant change in circumstances that was not foreseeable at the time the order was put into effect. This could be any number of scenarios but are commonly because the paying spouse had a significant loss of income and can no longer afford the spousal support amount. In this case, depending on what the financial situation is, support may be reduced or ended. If the supported spouse is not making a good faith effort to become self-supporting, the support order may be ended as well.
To request a change or end to a spousal support order, you must file a Request for Order and the associated attachments, Income and Expense Declaration, and a Spousal Support Declaration Attachment, wherein you explain your reasoning for requesting the modification or termination. You will also have to serve the other party and appear at a court hearing where a judge will rule on your request. Until the support order is either modified or ended through the court, spousal support not paid, called spousal support arrearage, will still be owed at an interest rate of 10% per year. Also, if you had a wage garnishment in effect for spousal support payments, you will have to file a new Earnings Assignment to reflect the new amount of spousal support, which would be zero. The wage garnishment will not automatically reflect the termination of the spousal support. If you are seeking a modification or termination of a spousal support order, seek the help of an experienced family law attorney right away. Remember you are liable for all spousal support payments until the order is changed, regardless of the circumstances.
Are you in Los Angles County and have some questions about modifying or ending a spousal support order? Certified Family Law Specialist Mark H. Karney has experience with complex spousal support issues and knows how to ensure your best interests are looked out for. Representing individuals in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and surrounding areas, Mark H. Karney will listen to your case and, based off your needs, will take action to ensure you receive the outcome you deserve. Call our office at 310-622-9434; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us through our online form today to schedule a free consultation.