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How to Terminate Spousal Support in California

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Alimony or spousal support termination is a polarizing issue during a divorce. And divorced spouses often continue to battle it out over the details of spousal support termination after the divorce is final. Laws governing spousal support termination vary significantly depending on the length of the marriage. Shorter-term marriages typically result in easier termination. The longer the marriage was, the more contested and high conflict the negotiations tend to be regarding when and how spousal support is terminated. How does the court decide when to terminate alimony, and what do the parties involved need to know about spousal support termination?

Alimony termination often begins with a formal request for order filed with the court. This method of terminating spousal support is appropriate in certain situations.

1.    When the marriage was short-term, and the term of spousal support payments has reached one-half the duration of the marriage. For example, if the couple was married for eight years, the case concludes one year after their separation, and the supporting spouse wants to end spousal support three years later, they would file a request for order with the court. Divorce attorneys may place a termination clause in the judgment. In this instance, a formal request for order would not be necessary. If the required provision was not included or if the language is ambiguous, the filing will be required to terminate spousal support.

2.    When a material change in circumstances occurs after the judgment that justifies termination of spousal support. In this situation, termination often includes a court’s power ever to award spousal support to the supported party. Many factors can cause a case to fall into this scenario including the supported party’s failure to make a reasonable effort to become self-supporting, the supported party’s increased income, the supporting party’s reduced income, etc.

Spouses also have the option to come to an agreement regarding spousal support termination as well as determining the court’s power or jurisdiction to award alimony. These agreements can be complicated, and couples should work with an experienced attorney before drafting and submitting a termination agreement to the court for the required signature.

If you need help terminating spousal support or if you need to find out how the California courts calculate spousal support awards, please get in touch with one of the experienced California divorce attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm today.

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