Requesting alimony can be a necessary but complex part of divorce. Below is a list of steps to take if your situation suddenly changes.
Divorce proceedings are complicated. You may finally get to a place where things have been agreed to or settled on, and then life happens and things change. This can be especially true when it comes down to finances and alimony.
Even after things have been decided through the court, it’s possible that certain situations can change due to a job change, or any other type of financial modification.
In California, the state determines spousal support or alimony based on the length of the marriage. A marriage of a “long duration” under California law is a marriage that is a marriage of 10 years or more.
The court also has continued authority on the issue of spousal support even after a marriage has come to an end, things rarely remain exactly the same after an order has been made.
In order to ask the court to change spousal support or alimony, a “change in circumstances” that something has significantly changed since the original partner support was finalized.
To request these changes there are various steps to be completed in order for the court to hear your requested change to a spousal support order.
These are the steps to take to start your request:
- Filling out the proper court forms
Request for Order (Form FL-300), Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-150), Spousal or Partner Support Declaration Attachment (Form FL-157), Declaration (Form MC-030) or an Attached Declaration (Form MC-031) if needed
- Have your forms reviewed
Your court’s family law facilitator, who is a neutral party (not your attorney) and is decided by which county you reside in, can review the paperwork to look for any potential issues or errors before you move ahead with filing
- Make Copies Your Forms
Make one copy will be for you, one copy will be for your former spouse or partner, and an additional copy if there is a child support agency involved in your case. The original forms will be for the court
- File your forms
You will file your forms with the court clerk and they will keep the original and return the filed copies to you. You may have to pay a filing fee and if you can’t afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver. The court clerk will then give you a court date and put it on your Form FL-300
- Have your papers served
Serve your spouse or partner with a copy of your papers and a blank Responsive Declaration to Request for Order (Form FL-320) and blank Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-150) before your scheduled court date. If the local child support agency (LCSA) is involved in your case they will also need to be served with a copy of your papers.
- File your proof of service
Have your server fill out a Proof of Service by Mail (Form FL-335) and then file each Proof of Service with the court. If possible, have your family law facilitator review the Proof of Service form to make sure it was filled out properly. If the papers were served in person, your server has to fill out a Proof of Personal Service (Form FL-330).
- Attend Court Hearing
Go to your court hearing and take a copy of all your papers and each Proof of Service. Bring proof of your income and expenses and any documents that support your argument that there has been a change in circumstances that makes it necessary to change the spousal or partner support.
While you can complete these steps yourself to change or end a spousal or partner support order, it’s highly recommended that you hire a divorce attorney to represent you throughout the process.
Our firm is well-versed and has current knowledge of critical financial issues concerning spousal and child support and we’re here to help!
We can handle the filing and any other legal issues or concerns you might have regarding alimony or spousal support. Set up a consultation with our firm today!