In your divorce, spousal support may be ordered if one spouse needs financial assistance to become self-supporting.

During the divorce process, the court may order temporary spousal support. The court will determine the amount of temporary support using a standard calculation. This calculation takes into consideration the financial needs of the spouse requesting support.

The final support award, however, will be based on a number of factors under California Family Code section 4320.

Can Alimony Be Increased in California?

Once ordered, spousal support can change only if petitioned with the court. To have a spousal support order modified, the party petitioning for the modification must demonstrate that:

  • there has been a change in circumstances (generally financial),
  • that could not have been foreseen prior to the order being finalized.

In general, spousal support is awarded based off of what occurred during the marriage (e.g. what financially occurred or how much money was made). So, with a raise or promotion post-judgment, spousal support won’t automatically increase. However, child support, which is calculated based off of income and visitation time, may increase with a raise or promotion.

Within the spousal support order, there may be language that:

  • anticipates future changes in income, and
  • provides guidance on how support will change if that happens.

If your support order has no such stipulation, it is more complicated to figure out whether spousal support should go up. Similarly, your order could include language to make the amount “nonmodifiable” meaning there is no possibility of it changing.

If your spouse is seeking to increase the support amount after a raise or promotion, they will have to demonstrate either that:

  • the original amount ordered was not sufficient for them to live off of, or
  • that at this time, the support they are getting is not enough to cover current cost of living.

You do not have to pay more spousal support simply because you make more money unless your spouse has a demonstrated greater need for support. Your spouse also cannot make a claim to more spousal support if the original order has already expired.

Are you in the Los Angeles County area and have questions about spousal support? Attorney Steven Fernandez can help you draft out a reasonable and fair spousal support order and can ensure you the best possible financial outcome from for your divorce. A Certified Family Law Specialist, Steven Fernandez has experience handling complex and high-asset divorces in Los Angeles, Pacific Palisades and Beverley Hills areas. Contact our office at 310-622-9434; email us at or contact us through our online form to schedule a free consultation today.