Alimony Modification in San Diego for Divorce or Legal Separation Spouses: 2014

MODIFICATION OF ALIMONY IN SAN DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT: AGREEMENT OR COURT HEARING WHETHER LEGAL SEPARATION OR DIVORCE?

In San Diego, many spouses are ordered to pay alimony, or spousal support, to the other spouse in their divorce or legal separation. This can be for a short period of time or an indefinite period of time. The duration for the alimony order is determined by the duration of the marriage. If the marriage is less than ten years, then the legal presumption is that the duration is no more than one half of the duration of the marriage. Example is 8 year marriage and 4 year alimony duration order. The order can be changed as long as the spousal support order is modifiable. The procedure to modify an existing spousal support order is either by agreement of the parties in a written stipulation or by filing a motion for a request for order. It is very important to understand that the date of retroactivity for a spousal support order is only back to the date of the filing of the motion. In many case, loss of job or income or other change of circumstances is communicated to the opposing party and negotiations begin for an agreement. An agreement is always preferable however, for loss of job or disability or other loss of income, it is important to also file a motion so that [in the event the negotiations do not result in an agreement] the Judge has the legal authority to modify back to the date of filing. A filed hearing can always be taken off calendar if an agreement is reached. The law is also clear that the current order must be complied with pending any modification whether by order or agreement.

STANDARD FOR MODIFYING ALIMONY AS A TEMPORARY ORDER

In San Diego Superior Court, a temporary order means one that is made before judgment in the divorce or legal separation. Many Judges use the disso master program to calculate temporary alimony to give a “status quo”order. This amount can be high and is 100% tax deductible to the payor and 100% included in the taxable income of the payee. There is no change of circumstances required to modify a temporary order however there should be changes in the factors which are used to calculate the temporary order. Examples are change of income {for either party} plus or minus ten percent, change of tax filing status, selling or buying a house or other factors. The best procedure, as above, is to reach an agreement however, if not possible, a motion can be filed to modify a temporary spousal support order.

STANDARD FOR MODIFYING ALIMONY AS A PERMANENT ORDER

A permanent order, in San Diego Superior Court, means one that is made after the entry of judgment in the legal separation or divorce. The legal standard to modify a permanent alimony order requires a change of circumstances. Some believe this is a change of income [plus or minus] 10% however this can also be other changes such as the period of time. For example, in a 20 year marriage, a motion can be brought for modification and/or termination after one half of the duration or 10 years or even sooner or later. As with the temporary order, for a Judge to have the ability to have retroactivity for jurisdiction, a motion must be on file. Unlike using the disso master for calculating temporary spousal support, the Judge uses the factors listed in Family Law Code Section 4320 which can be a very complicated analysis.

HOW A LOCAL SAN DIEGO LAW FIRM CAN HELP

The law firm of Doppelt & Forney, APLC can help you file your motion for modification of alimony and also help to reach an agreement if possible. Feel free to call and schedule your confidential and free consultation with an attorney who can give you a legal analysis whether your modification is for a temporary or permanent order.

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