Why is timely filing of a support order modification essential?

Request a Consultation

During a divorce, spousal support is determined based on a number of factors. However, the income and assets of both spouses are generally a prime consideration. The same is true when domestic partners break up and one is ordered to pay support to the other.

However, many things change in people’s lives that can impact the payer’s ability to make these payments. Changes in the recipient’s life or financial needs can also impact how much support he or she needs. In these cases, California law provides for the ability to modify the support order.

Too often, people put off asking for a change to the order if they lose a job or experience a decrease in income. While it’s understandable that these are stressful situations, it’s essential to act as quickly as possible to get the order changed.

Payment order changes are effective the day you file the necessary papers. They are not retroactive back to the date that your income changed. Therefore, if you don’t get around to requesting the change until weeks or months later, you still owe the amount designated in the original order for that period.

If the former couple can agree on a new payment amount, the process is relatively simple. They draft a new order and submit it to a judge for signature. Don’t rely on a verbal agreement with your ex to lower the payments. Get the new order in place. Otherwise, you can be held responsible for your previous support amount.

If the two people cannot agree on the need for a change or the amount, it will be necessary for the person requesting it to go to court to seek a “modification.” Sometimes this occurs when the payer feels that his or her ex is not making enough effort to become self-supporting. When the recipient remarries or obtains another source of support, the payer can also request that the support end.

The legal and financial consequences of not paying spousal or partner support obligations fully and in a timely manner can be serious. Therefore, if you are not able to fulfill those obligations, you should take action through the courts to make the necessary modifications. In many cases, people rely on the family law attorney who represented them when they and their spouse or partner split to help them take the required legal steps.

Source: California Courts: The Judicial Branch of California, “Changing (or Ending) a Spousal/Partner Support Order,” accessed July 30, 2015

Our Awards and Memberships

Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., recognizes that family law matters involve complex, sensitive issues that can have a lasting impact on you, your family, your finances and your future.

More About Honors & Awards
Arrow Image
10.0 Avvo Superb Top Attorney Family Law, Divorce
Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys 2017
2022 Client Satisfaction American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies In the Bay Area San Francisco Business Times
10 Best Female Attorneys 2017 American Institute of Family Law Attorneys
San Francisco Bay Area's Best and Brightest Companies to Work For Winner 2021
2018 Best Lawyers Best Law Firms U.S. News & World Report
California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS) State Bar of California
2020 Client Champion Debra R. Schoenberg
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards 2019
Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in Concord 2020
2018 Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in San Francisco
Fast 100
Lead Counsel Rated
Litigation Counsel of America (LCA) Fellow
National Board of Trial Advocacy
2017 Parents' Press Best of The Bay
San Francisco Business Times
Rated By Super Lawyers Debra R. Schoenberg
The Business of Pride
2021 Best Businesses Three Best Rated
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards & Summit
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys of 2018
Arrow Image