Spousal support is often a high-conflict area of divorce law. Spousal support, also called alimony, is generally temporary financial support provided to the spouse who is not self-supporting.

Spousal support can also be ordered permanently, if it is unlikely that spouse will never become self-supporting.

Spousal support is usually modified or terminated when there is a significant change in circumstances that was not foreseeable at the time the support was ordered. These circumstances can include changes in income, financial need or living arrangements.

A spousal support order can include language outlining the events or circumstances that can change or end spousal support. Remarriage is one of these events that will stop support payments. Similarly, entering into a domestic partnership can also end spousal support. Your support order can also include language that prevents it from being modified in any case or circumstance, however this needs to be agreed upon.

Unlike child support, the law does not require spousal support be ordered in every case and it is not considered a permanent responsibility of the payor in the case of remarriage. Upon remarriage, the legal responsibility to financially support the spouse would transfer to the new spouse.

If the supported spouse begins cohabitating with someone, but does not marry him or her, his or her financial need for support would change and thus support can be modified but may not necessarily end. To end or change spousal support before its termination date, you can write up an agreement with your spouse or, if they do not agree, file a motion with your divorce court.

This will prompt a hearing, at which the modification can be granted, changed or denied. It is important to note that if your spousal support came in the form of a lump sum or a transfer of property, remarriage cannot have an effect on this. This is something to consider when writing up your spousal support agreement in the first place. Monthly payments can always stop or be lowered however if you transfer something like a house to your spouse in lieu of payments, you cannot take it back when their financial circumstances change. Keep all these things in mind when working out your spousal support agreement to ensure you look out for your financial interests in the future.

Are you in the Los Angeles or Beverley Hills area and have questions about spousal support and remarriage? Certified Family Law Specialist Mark H. Karney can help you terminate or modify a spousal support order after a change of circumstances. Serving Los Angeles County, attorney Mark H. Karney can provide expert counsel for post-judgment modifications to support orders. Call our office at 310-622-9434; email us at intake@cfli.com or contact us through our online form today to schedule a free consultation.