If you hold a divorce decree or divorce agreement, you may associate think your divorce is finalized, but is it really as set in stone as it seems? What if your finances change and the original decree is untenable?
If you are experiencing financial uncertainty or worse, and you are unable to continue spousal support or maintenance, you may have options.
What if my financial situation is different now?
If you can establish with proof that your financial picture is no longer the same as when you originally divorced, you can ask the California courts to consider modifying your original spousal support terms.
For example, job loss or illness resulting in a major change to your income can be considered.
In order to ask the courts to consider your issue, you must submit the required forms and supporting documentation. If you lost your job, it is not enough to simply state, “I lost my job.” You must provide unemployment evidence, bank statements, pay stubs, etc. to substantiate your claim.
What if my former spouse’s financial situation is different now?
What about your former spouse? Were they that lucky Californian who claimed the Mega Millions jackpot? Did they marry a Dodgers player, or have a substantial positive gain to their income?
Changes in their finances that reduce their need to rely on your continued spousal support can also be considered by the court.
In summary, you can ask for modifications if your finances have changed
In matters of changing divorce settlement terms, it can often be beneficial to consult a family lawyer with knowledge in local laws, courts and procedures.
Divorce documents are final as of that moment in time, but should your finances change in a way that substantially reduces your ability to pay, you do have options for asking a judge to reconsider your original terms.