Californians who have endured the stresses and burdens of divorcing a spouse often think that the order and judgment for divorce has settled that part of their lives forever. Unfortunately, life is never certain, and the issues that proved so contentious during the divorce proceeding can often reemerge if circumstances change. Two of the issues that most commonly reappear are child support and spousal support.
The basis for change in both cases is proof that the circumstances of one or both parties have changed significantly. To obtain an increase or reduction in child support payments, the parent requesting the change must prove one or more changes. This could include changes such as a parent being incarcerated, a change the medical or educational needs of a child, a parent losing a job or even big changes in the amount of time the child is spending with the respective parents, among other factors.
The most effective method of changing an order for child support is to obtain the agreement of the other parent, but if that does not happen, then a motion before the judge will be necessary.
As with changing a child support order, changing an order for spousal support can be achieved most efficiently by obtaining the agreement of the other former spouse. In the absence of such an agreement, the only method is to seek relief from the judge. Proof of changed circumstances can include a change in the income of one or both former spouses, the marriage of one former spouse, or one spouse is not making a good faith effort to find employment.
Because changing an order for child support or spousal support can necessitate a court appearance and thus representation by a lawyer, consulting an experienced family law attorney at an early stage of the proceeding can be advantageous.