Spousal Support: Challenges and Solutions

Spousal support, or alimony, is intended to allow both ex-spouses to enjoy a standard of living that is comparable to their pre-divorce lives. All sorts of challenges can arise during the time that an alimony order is in effect. The best way to handle these problems is to consult a family law attorney promptly. In some cases, it may be necessary to file a post-decree petition for alimony modification with the court.

Managing False Allegations

In California, support orders can end, but they never really go away. It’s not unheard of for desperate ex-spouses to claim—sometimes decades later—that they never received spousal support. They may even try to obtain money from the estate after the payor spouse’s death. This is why your family lawyer will likely advise you to retain all payment records indefinitely. Never pay your alimony in cash. Print out and retain your bank statements, and get receipts from your ex for each payment. Keep these records in a fireproof container.

Falling Behind on Payments

Among the most common spousal support problems is falling behind on payments. If your circumstances change, you need to contact your alimony lawyer immediately. Your attorney can file a petition to modify spousal support if you’ve lost your job, received a reduction in wages, or experienced other, similar financial setbacks. Changes to court orders aren’t retroactively applicable. This means that even if your support order changes, you’re still responsible for paying any arrears you owe. Spousal support arrears are subject to a high interest rate in California, and the judge cannot modify that.

Understanding the Effects of Co-Habitation

It’s possible for your divorce attorney to successfully argue for a reduction or an end to spousal support if your ex is in another relationship that involves co-habitation. The reasoning behind this is that your ex will be receiving financial contributions to the household from his or her new partner or spouse. Improve your chances of successfully reducing or ending the payments by documenting everything. Don’t spy on your ex, of course, but do keep careful records of the information that comes to your attention, such as when the new partner moved into the home.

Singer & Associates is a trusted source of family law guidance for individuals in Sacramento and throughout the surrounding regions. Our alimony lawyer is an aggressive litigator who can help you reach a favorable resolution for your case. Call (916) 922-5985 to request a consult today.

Categories: Tips for Fathers


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