“Spousal support” or “partner support” (in domestic partnerships), and “alimony” is when a couple separates or divorces, the court decides a spouse will need to pay the other spouse a certain amount of money as a form of support.
Contributing Factors to Determining Spousal Support
There are many contributing factors that determine the amount of spousal support, what the terms are, and how it can affect your taxes. A family law attorney will be able to walk you through the various steps of understanding spousal support, whether the courts decide you need to pay it, or if you need to receive it.
Changing a Spousal Support Decision
Often times a spouse or domestic partner might request that the amount of spousal or partner support be changed. For this change to be granted a “change in circumstances” will need to be proven. This means that a significant change, such as a job loss, has taken place. Occasionally the spouse or partner receiving support no longer needs it. A change in circumstances can also mean that the spouse/partner receiving support is not working towards becoming self-sufficient financially. When this occurs, the spouse/partner paying the support can request the court change the support order to reflect this inaction.
Report any Changes in Circumstances Immediately
It’s important to note that if you are paying the spousal/partner support you will still be required to pay the full amount of support the court ordered until the change of circumstances is proven, even if your financial situation has changed. So if you lose your job and do not change your spousal/partner support until three months after losing your job, you will still be required to pay three months worth of support, even if you are not able to. An interest rate of 10% is also adhered to that unpaid balance. Because of this, it is crucial that if you have a change of circumstances, you need to address it in court immediately.
Source: California Courts, Spousal/Partner Support, 2014
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