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4 times people can stop paying spousal support in California

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2023 | Spousal Support

Financial matters often lead to intense disagreements between spouses during divorce. Few topics are more emotional for those preparing for the end of a marriage than alimony or spousal support. For example, someone who has long sacrificed their professional ambitions to support the family may feel strongly about their need for support until they recover some of their lost earning potential and reestablish themselves professionally.

On the other hand, someone who has always been the primary wage earner may resent the idea of continuing to support their spouse even after a divorce. Oftentimes, California spousal support lasts for a set amount of time based on the length of the marriage and numerous other factors. Occasionally, support will end early. These following four circumstances may allow the person paying for support to request the early termination of a spousal support order in California.

The remarriage of the recipient

If the spouse receiving support gets married to someone else, it is typically reasonable to expect that their new partner will help support them financially. Remarrying typically leads to the end of spousal support even if there is some time before the order would end.

An uncontrollable drop in income

There are some people who will quit their jobs or move into a lower-paid profession just because they don’t want to pay support to their spouse. Therefore, the courts are often skeptical of modification requests related to a drop in income. People typically need to show that the change is beyond their control, possibly due to injury or illness.

An increase in the recipient’s income

Sometimes, the spouse receiving support is able to rebuild their career much more quickly than they initially anticipated. Such success stories may lead to the early termination of their support because they are now fully capable of supporting themselves.

A pending retirement

The final situation in which the California family courts may end support early is when the party paying special support reaches the age of 65 and is ready to retire. In all but the rarest of cases, the courts will not compel someone who is over the age of 65 to continue working just for the purpose of paying support.

Those who understand the rules that govern spousal support in California will have an easier time knowing when they can make adjustments to their current arrangements or how long they can count on payments. Consulting with a family law attorney is sometimes necessary for those in unusual circumstances who question whether they are eligible for a support modification.