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2015: How Do You Modify Spousal Support in San Diego Superior Court for a Legal Separation or Divorce?

Spousal Support Orders in a Divorce or Legal Separation Fundamentally in Superior Court in San Diego

Alimony, or spousal support, is designed for support of a spouse on a temporary or permanent basis for either spouses who legally separate or divorce. Temporary spousal support, when used in San Diego Superior Court, means pre judgement. Permanent spousal support means post judgment. Judgment refers to the entry of judgment for either a legal separation or divorce. There are different standards and formulas for calculation of both permanent and temporary alimony. These differences are discussed below. First, however, there must be an initial spousal support order which needs to be changed [or modified]. Duration is also an issue for spousal support orders. In San Diego, if a marriage is less than ten years in length from date of marriage to date of separation, then the Judge will [normally] terminate the spousal support duration after one half of the length of the marriage. If the marriage is over ten years, then the Judge does not have the ability to set a termination date as of the date of judgment. This does not mean that the spousal support goes on forever but means a motion to modify the alimony amount or to terminate spousal support must be brought after the entry of judgment.

Spousal Support Modification for Temporary Orders

Temporary spousal support [pre judgment] is calculated using a computer program called the disso master. The Judges in the San Diego Superior Court have the option of using the disso master for modification of temporary spousal support orders or can use the permanent factors discussed in Family Law Code Section 4320 which are discussed in more detail below. The disso master uses the following factors and the Judge also has the ability to deviate from the guidelines for a number which is higher or lower. Spousal support calculations from the disso master contain the following factors however this is not a complete list:

  • mandatory retirement [not voluntary retirement]
  • required union dues
  • deductible interest expense for residence
  • property tax expense for residence
  • spousal support paid from another marriage
  • child support paid from another marriage
  • health insurance premiums
  • extra ordinary medical expenses
  • taxable income
  • non taxable income
  • wages and salary
  • child support paid from this marriage
Spousal Support Modification for Permanent Orders

Permanent spousal support [post judgment] is calculated using the factors in Family Law Code Section 4320. The Judge, as with temporary spousal support, has discretion in the amount. Some factors are listed below but there are others:

  • if the payee of spousal support was convicted of domestic violence against the other spouse [however this can be rebutted in certain cases]
  • balancing of hardships to each spouse in a modification of spousal support
  • what are the specific and immediate consequences to the taxes of each spouse and the deductibility or inclusion in income of spousal support
  • the health and age of each spouse
  • the length of the marriage
  • the incomes of each spouse and expenses of each spouse
  • what was the marital standard of living during the marriage and what are the needs of each party after marriage
How Can a Local San Diego Law Firm Help You With Spousal Support Modifications or Other Family Law Issues?

The law firm of Doppelt and Forney, APLC can help you with legal representation in modification of spousal support motions and has experience representing both payors and payees of spousal support. The law firm offers a free 30 minute virtual consultation in their office so you can discuss your legal matter in confidence and at no charge. Feel free to set your consultation on your case.

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