Modify a Divorce Decree in San Diego
Modifying Your Divorce, Support, & Custody Terms
Our firm has a motto: "When life changes, we are here to help."
That is true in any family law case, but it is particularly true for post-judgment modifications. Sometimes the terms you set during your divorce do not match your current situation, and new terms have to be drafted. When that happens, call our attorneys to speed up and smooth out the process for you. We offer free consultations.
When Should I Modify My Divorce Decree?
Divorce decrees can be modified when one or both parties experience a "substantial change in circumstances" that affects their ability to comply with a child custody, child support, or spousal support order. A "significant change in circumstances" can include heightened healthcare costs, rising costs of raising a growing child, loss of a job, etc.
- Spousal Support (formerly called alimony) modifications
- Child support modifications
- Child custody/visitation modifications
If your circumstances have changed, then you may need to alter your court orders (as listed above). For example, if you have lost a job or if your child's needs have changed. Altering the court orders quickly may be vital.
Until the order has been changed though the court, you must continue honoring the current order. Having a lawyer handle your modification request will aide you in obtaining your desired result. Our decades of collective experience can help eliminate the delays and uncertainty of filing a court motion.
Grounds for a Custody or Support Modification in California
Grounds for a modification encompass any change that affects your financial situation. When it comes to children, grounds for modification include anything that affects the well-being of your child.
- Increase or decrease in income
- Loss of a job for one parent
- Increase in child care costs
- Parent's lifestyle has become detrimental to child
- One spouse has moved in with a significant other
Modifying Spousal Support in California
The duration or amount of a spousal support order may be modified if there was a material change of circumstances after the court made the original order.
Modifying Duration of Support
When determining whether a material change of circumstances justifies modification of a spousal support order, the court must reevaluate the factors of California Family Code § 4320.
In general, spousal support orders are crafted to allow a financially less resourceful spouse to achieve financial independence by providing them with financial assistance for a reasonable period. California courts typically consider half the length of the parties’ marriage to be a reasonable time for a supported spouse to become self-supporting.
In cases where the marriage lasted over ten years, California courts may decide to fashion a spousal support award for an indefinite time.
However, the duration of a spousal support obligation is modifiable if the expectations the court relied on when they issued the order failed to materialize.
For example, imagine that the court-ordered three years of spousal support, expecting the supported spouse to find gainful employment by the time the order expires. The supported spouse can modify the order to extend the obligation further if they failed to find gainful employment despite their good-faith effort to secure a job.
Similarly, a court may reduce or terminate a spousal support order if the supported spouse regained their ability to earn income or otherwise experienced a sudden increase in wealth.
Modifying the Amount of Support
The exact amount of a spousal support order depends on the financial circumstances of the parties. For example, courts have considered retirement to be a change of circumstances that warrants the reduction of a spousal support order by an amount commensurate with the resulting drop in the supporting spouse’s income.
In contrast, a sudden ascension to significant wealth—such as winning the jackpot or inheriting property—does not automatically necessitate modification of the support order.
Contact Our San Diego Modification Attorneys Today
Whether you have primary custody and are seeking to limit visitation rights, or your financial situation has changed and you want to lower your spousal support payments, modifications can help make the law address your specific needs. Our attorneys are skilled in discovery and investigation and can help present the facts of your situation in order to strengthen your modification request.
Have questions about your specific case? Call our Family Law San Diegoattorneys at (619) 577-4900 today to hear about your legal options and how we can help make your request process faster and smoother.
LEADERS IN FAMILY LAWREASONS TO WORK WITH Family Law San Diego
As skilled litigators, mediators, and negotiators, our firm is prepared to handle any type of family law case.
Working together, we pull from our unique backgrounds and resources to achieve the best results possible.
We create tailor-made solutions to fit the unique needs of every client and help them move forward favorably.
We are committed to serving a diverse clientele, all the while protecting the interests and fulfilling the needs of clients.
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