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Can I Modify A Child Custody, Support Or Alimony Order In California?

Change is a constant in life. Circumstances evolve, and what worked yesterday may not be suitable today. Recognizing this, California law allows for the modification of child custody, support, or alimony orders to adapt to changing circumstances.

At Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC, we understand the intricacies involved in this process and are here to assist whether you want to ask the court for a change or demonstrate why the current arrangements continue to meet the best needs of the family and should not be modified.

Requesting a Modification

If you find yourself needing changes, the first step is to file a petition with the court that issued the original order. We can help you gather the required evidence to support your case, and present your arguments persuasively to help achieve your goals.

Of course, our team will manage the necessary paperwork and representation in court to facilitate a smooth transition. We focus on minimizing stress and strategizing to navigate the legal processes efficiently and effectively.

When Can You Seek a Modification?

In California, you can request changes in custody, support, or alimony orders when there is a significant change in circumstances. This could be a job loss, relocation, changes in the child’s needs, or any other substantial change that affects the parties involved.

It's important to note that modifications can be requested no only when circumstances change for the worse but also when a parent or former spouse enjoys improved living conditions. For instance, if the parent paying child support gets a big raise, the parent receiving support could ask for an increase to allow the child a share in the improved family circumstances. Or if a former spouse moves in with a new partner and reduces their living expenses, that can justify reducing or eliminating alimony.

Factors California Courts Consider in Modification Cases

California courts assess several factors when evaluating modification requests. They focus on the best interest of the child in custody cases, considering elements such as the child’s age, health, and the ability of the parents to meet the child's needs. For support and alimony modifications, the courts look at the financial ability of both parties, among other factors. We can help you understand what factors will be considered in your specific situation.

Our experienced team can guide you in understanding the nuances of the court's considerations, helping to prepare a robust case that adequately addresses all the necessary legal aspects while always prioritizing the welfare of the child or the fairness of the support being provided.

The Role of a California Divorce Lawyer in Modification Processes

Having an experienced divorce lawyer by your side can be immensely beneficial throughout the modification process. We can help present your case persuasively, highlighting the crucial factors that justify the modification. Our team works to ensure that the modification serves your best interest and that of your child.

Whether it’s understanding how long the process takes or what you need to prove for the modification to be granted, we’ve got you covered. Feel free to reach out with your questions. We can also offer guidance on how to manage your affairs during the interim period while the modification is pending. This includes advice on adhering to the existing orders until the new modification is officially granted, to avoid any legal complications.

What to Expect After Filing for Modification

After filing your modification request in California, expect some waiting time before the court reviews your case. The other party will be notified and given a chance to respond.

It’s essential to be prepared for court hearings, but we will guide you through the process, offering representation grounded in experience and understanding of California laws. It's crucial to remain patient and maintain open communication with your legal team during this period.

Keeping Records for Your California Modification Case

Being proactive in keeping detailed records can significantly bolster your case. Document any changes in circumstances meticulously, including financial alterations, to present a strong case in court. We recommend that you consult with us early in the process, so we can advise you on the best way to keep records that will support your case.

Contact Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC for Help With Modifications

The process of requesting a modification or trying to stop a proposed modification can be daunting, but with the right legal representation, you can move forward with confidence. At Holstrom, Block & Parke APLC, we have the experience to present your best case to the court and argue effectively to reach your desired outcome.

To get started, call us today at (855) 426-9111 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a family law attorney in Southern California.

What Is Alimony And How Is It Determined In California?

Divorce is challenging both emotionally and financially. Among the complex financial elements to address during divorce are questions involving whether one spouse should pay alimony and if so, how much and for how long.

In this blog, we'll examine what alimony is and how decisions about alimony are determined in California. Our goal is to provide you with a clear, easy-to-understand guide that can be your first step in grasping this crucial aspect of California divorce law.

What is Alimony?

Alimony is financial support paid by one spouse to another during or after divorce proceedings. Technically, the legal term for these payments are spousal support, but most people still use the traditional term, alimony.

The primary objective of alimony is to balance the financial playing field and to ensure that the lower-earning spouse can maintain a standard of living similar to what they enjoyed during the marriage. In California, alimony isn't automatic; rather, the courts have a considerable amount of discretion when it comes to the type, amount, and duration of these payments.

Factors that Influence Alimony in California

To establish a fair alimony arrangement, California courts weigh a number of elements. These factors include but aren't limited to:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Age and health of each spouse
  • Income of each spouse
  • Property and debts of both parties
  • Earning capacities of both parties

Additionally, the court looks into the lifestyle the couple maintained during the marriage, as well as contributions from the spouse seeking alimony. For instance, the court will consider one the lower-earning spouse helped the higher-earning spouse acquire an education, advance in their career, or secure professional licenses.

Types of Alimony in California

Different types of alimony exist in California to serve various needs and situations. The most common types include temporary, rehabilitative, and permanent alimony.

Temporary alimony is designed to provide financial aid during the divorce process itself. Rehabilitative alimony aims to assist the lower-earning spouse in becoming financially independent by supporting them as they re-enter the workforce. Permanent alimony, usually applicable in long-term marriages, may last indefinitely and is designed to offer lasting support.

How Is the Amount of Alimony Calculated?

While California doesn't have a strict formula for determining alimony, many courts use software programs as guidelines for establishing a reasonable amount. But remember, these are just guidelines, not hard rules.

Judges use their discretion, taking into account the above factors and other issues, to arrive at a fair and just alimony arrangement. Both spouses have an opportunity to present their case, arguing for either a higher or lower alimony payment based on their individual needs and circumstances. That means it’s in your best interests to make certain your divorce attorney is aware of all the factors that could weigh in your favor during an alimony determination.

When Can Alimony be Modified or Terminated?

Modification of alimony is not uncommon in California, particularly if there's a significant "change in circumstances," such as either party experiencing a considerable increase or decrease in income, or reaching retirement age. Alimony termination generally occurs if the recipient remarries or if either spouse passes away. It’s essential to seek professional legal advice from an experienced California divorce lawyer if you think your alimony order may need modification or termination.

The Role of Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be pivotal in determinations of alimony in a California divorce. If an agreement was signed before or during the marriage, it should be thoroughly reviewed as part of the divorce process.

Even though such an agreement can specify alimony arrangements, the court still retains the final say. However, judges usually respect the terms of a prenup or postnup, provided it was fair and voluntarily agreed upon by both parties at the time it was executed.

Alimony and Taxes

Remember, tax laws concerning alimony have changed. Previously, alimony payments were tax-deductible for the paying spouse and were considered as taxable income for the receiving spouse.

But for divorces finalized after December 31, 2018, this is no longer the case. Now, alimony payments are neither tax-deductible for the paying spouse nor considered income for the recipient. This change has significant implications and should be kept in mind when negotiating alimony.

Important Tips for Seeking Alimony in California

If you want to seek alimony or ensure that you are not ordered to pay an unfair amount of support, it's crucial to gather pertinent documentation such as proof of income, a comprehensive list of monthly expenses, and any available information regarding your spouse's earnings.

Get the documentation to your attorney in a timely fashion. Having detailed records can strengthen your case when the court is assessing the amount of alimony to be granted. Remember, thorough preparation can be your best ally in ensuring a fair alimony arrangement.

Contact Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC for Help with Alimony

Whether you are seeking alimony or being asked to pay spousal support, the outcome can have a tremendous impact on your financial future in both the short and long term. The experienced Certified Family Law Specialists at Holstrom, Block & Park know how to ensure that the factors that support your goals receive fair consideration during the divorce process.

To put our skills to work for you, call today at (844) 237-5791 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

Divorce: Emotionally & Financially Devastating

Divorce, custody battles,child support, alimony, modifications or contempt actions can be emotionally and financially devastating for everyone involved.

You need to make financial and logistical adjustments, carefully monitor your legal rights and manage heightened emotions during this stressful time. If you have children, matters can be complicated further. While these issues are basically the same for most couples, you may face very specific concerns according to your unique position.

In California, the only reason needed to end a marriage is ‘Irreconcilable differences’. In addition, California is considered to be a community property state, which means all marital property is split 50/50.

Community property consists of:

  • Home – resident, rental and any vacation properties
  • Motor vehicles, recreational vehicles
  • Financial – bank accounts, pensions, any income earned
  • Other assets – jewelry, household furnishings, art collections
  • All debts incurred

Property not included in the division would be ‘separate property’, which means any property owned before the marriage took place, including an inheritance or bank accounts which was kept separate from marital accounts.

Issues that need to be decided upon include:

  • Spousal support – depending on the length of the marriage, etc.
  • Ability of one spouse to pay the other
  • Child custody, child support, visitation – if there are children involved

At Holstrom, Block & Parke, we help clients throughout Riverside County with a wide variety of child support matters including enforcement and modification issues. We do everything we can to ensure that you receive the maximum level of support available for your children.

We will work to ensure that the income figures are accurate and aggressively argue any special circumstances that might call for additional support. We will pursue every option available to obtain the most favorable possible result in your case.

If you need dependable advice about your options during the divorce process,contact the Riverside Family Law offices of Holstrom, Block & Parke. We focus on you and your family, so you can focus on the future.

About Dayn Holstrom

Dayn Holstrom is a hard working, compassionate problem solver who welcomes the opportunity to serve you in any way he can. His maximum availability to your questions and concerns begins with your free initial consultation. He is well-seasoned in all matters related to family law and a skilled negotiator and litigator.

The Many Facets Of Divorce

Letting go of the years you spent together after your divorce is final is not always easy. This is true – even if you initiated the process.

Everything you’ve been thinking about for months and months is now a reality. You may feel out of control and even somewhat bewildered, but it’s time to move on.

It’s time to realize that your lifestyle is about to be altered by the financial settlement. You now have to worry about spousal support and child support. What about your children? They are probably the most painful part of all of this.

Your children won’t be with you every day now. You have to share custody with your ex-spouse. Don’t feel guilty – everything will eventually fall into place. You just need to agree on certain things in order to make the transition move smoothly. Having an experienced attorney by your side to help guide you through all those hard moments and make the process much more manageable to get you to focus on your new life, and all the changes heading your way.

Even when the divorce starts out friendly, it doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Battles take place while working through all the details. Fear and anger can take control while listening to well-meaning friends.

Are you going through a divorce and feel that stress is about to take hold of your life? It would be in your best interests to contact the Riverside Family Law offices of Holstrom, Block & Parke immediately. Our attorneys understand the intricacies of divorce and the realities of your financial situation.

We will work with you to arrive at a reasonable legal settlement that is within your means and meet your needs while doing so. More than anything, we can help you come to terms with difficult decisions made with care and confidence during this stressful and traumatic time in your life.

About Dayn Holstrom

Dayn Holstrom is a hard working, compassionate problem solver who welcomes the opportunity to serve you in any way he can. His maximum availability to your questions and concerns begins with your free initial consultation. He is well-seasoned in all matters related to family law and a skilled negotiator and litigator.


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.