Modifiable Spousal Support Orders

At the Orange County Law Office of David P Schwarz were are very knowledgeable about modifying spousal support orders during a divorce proceeding as well as any post divorce judgment issues that arise. Please contact our Law Office for a consultation at 949 735 9266 or contact via the web. We can be contacted as well by email at

A Spousal support attorney will explain to their client that the family law Court awards, temporary as well as “permanent,” spousal support. They are also modifiable throughout the support period except as to amounts accrued prior to filing of the request for order for modification and except as otherwise provided by agreement of the parties. [Fam.C. §§ 3603, 3651(c)(1)

A spousal support lawyer will also inform their client of the “family support” order. This type of order is anunallocated total sum for child and spousal support. This type order is common in family law courts. It may be modified to separate orders for child and spousal support where there has been a change of circumstances justifying increased child support but no increase in spousal support.

Continuing jurisdiction only if expressly or impliedly reserved: Unlike child support jurisdiction, spousal support jurisdiction does not necessarily continue postjudgment and may be divested by the terms of the order. Unless jurisdiction to award spousal support has been either expressly reserved by the order or impliedly reserved. postjudgment spousal support is limited by the stated duration of the order.

At Orange County Law Office of David P Schwarz we will inform the client of the Equitable power to reinstate spousal support in unique circumstances:

At least one case recognizes a court's “inherent equitable power” to grant a motion to reinstate spousal support, long after a termination of spousal support jurisdiction, due to an unforeseen change in the law. But this case is likely to be limited to its unique facts: The trial court had essentially compelled Wife to consent to a waiver of spousal support and termination of spousal support jurisdiction in order to receive her share of Husband's military pension; and, thereafter, federal law (the USFSPA) was amended to retroactively nullify Wife's right to the retirement benefit payments. Under those facts, Wife's spousal support waiver “was, for all practical purposes, unknowing and illusory”; because the unforeseen change in law effectively destroyed the trial court's prior order, it could draw upon its inherent equitable power to reinstate spousal support and put the parties back in the same position they had been in before the military pension was partitioned. This unique occurrence to reinstate Spousal support was in the case in re Marriage of Olsen.

A spousal support lawyer will also inform the client of the Implied (statutory) retention of jurisdiction after lengthy marriage: In marriages of “long duration” (presumptively 10 years or longer), the court is deemed to retain spousal support jurisdiction “indefinitely” (notwithstanding the absence of an express reservation of jurisdiction) absent written agreement of the parties to the contrary or a court order terminating spousal support.

Thus, in long-term marriages to which § 4336 applies, the court even has jurisdiction to make an initial spousal support award postjudgment despite the fact the judgment did not specifically refer to spousal support or mention the court's jurisdiction over spousal support. spousal support properly awarded for first time 5 years after disso judgment.

Terminable notwithstanding: Even so, a retention of spousal support jurisdiction after a “lengthy” marriage does not limit the court's discretion to terminate spousal support in later proceedings on a showing of changed circumstances.

Indeed, the policy of the law is that spousal support orders be made in a manner that encourages the supported party to become self-supporting within a “reasonable period of time”; and the failure to make good faith efforts toward self-support may be a factor considered by the court as a basis for modifying or terminating support. Fam.C. §§ 4320(l)

At the Orange County Law Office of David P Schwarz we are always ready to litigate any matters which the spousal support rights of a party are not properly being represented in court. Please contact our office at 949 735 9266 for a consultation. We cawn also be reached via the web. In addition, we can be contacted by email at

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