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Articles Posted in Spousal Support

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In many cases in which a couple gets divorced if there is a disparity in income between the spouses, the court will grant spousal support to the lesser earning spouse. The intention of spousal support is to allow the spouse with a lower income to enjoy the same lifestyle he or she enjoyed during the marriage. Most spousal support obligations are not permanent, however, but can be modified upon a showing of a significant change in circumstances. Recently, a California appellate court analyzed what constitutes a sufficient showing to warrant a modification in a case in which the husband appealed the trial court’s denial of his request to terminate spousal support. If you wish to modify a spousal support obligation, it is in your best interest to consult a trusted California spousal support attorney regarding your burden of proof.

Facts and Procedure of the Case

Reportedly, the husband and the wife were married for over twenty years. They filed a stipulated agreement to dissolve their marriage in 2014, which included an obligation for the husband to pay spousal support to the wife in the amount of $2,500 each month. The support obligation was to be reviewed in two years. In 2017, the husband filed a request for an order terminating the support obligation due to the wife’s new job and increased monthly income. Additionally, the husband engaged an expert who stated that the wife would require $3,300 per month to maintain the marital standard of living.

It is alleged that the wife opposed the husband’s request, arguing there were numerous factors the court must consider prior to ruling on the request, and requested an evidentiary hearing on the matter.  A settlement conference was unproductive, and the matter was scheduled for a two-day trial. Prior to the trial, the wife filed a brief arguing that there had not been a substantial change in circumstances and that she could not maintain her standard of living on her income alone. The court ruled in favor of the wife based solely on the wife’s brief. The husband then appealed. On review, the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling.

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In many divorce cases, the parties’ rights and obligations are delineated by a premarital agreement. Premarital agreements are typically enforced unless either party can show just cause for setting aside the agreement. Recently, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth District of California discussed the issue of what constitutes sufficient grounds for rendering a premarital agreement unenforceable due to unconscionability. If you entered into a premarital agreement prior to your marriage and are contemplating a divorce it is essential to speak with a trusted California divorce attorney regarding how the agreement may affect your rights.

Factual and Procedural Background

Reportedly, the husband and the wife, who are both architects, began corresponding in 1995, when the wife lived in Russia, and the husband lived in the United States. Later that year, the wife began working as an architect in Houston. She completed all of her architectural drafting in English. In the winter of 1995, the wife moved to California and became pregnant with the husband’s child. She gave birth to a daughter in September 1996. After the birth of her daughter, the wife wished to remain in the United States.

It is alleged that the couple decided to wed, but the husband stated he wished to enter into a premarital agreement prior to getting married. Specifically, the husband was concerned about having to pay spousal support if he and the wife divorced, and about the wife leaving the country and gaining rights to his property. The husband and the wife met with a paralegal and signed a boilerplate premarital agreement in October 1996. The paralegal advised the couple that the agreement had been drafted by an attorney and had them execute a document acknowledging that she was not giving them legal advice. In part, the agreement stated that in the event of a divorce, neither party would owe the other party spousal support. Continue reading →

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If you intend to seek a divorce, it is essential that you retain an attorney who is knowledgeable in drafting settlement agreements, to avoid unknowingly agreeing to terms that may put you in an unfavorable position in the future. Even if an agreement seems appropriate under your current circumstances, it is important to consider how any change in circumstances could affect your obligations and rights under the agreement. The failure to properly allow for modifications in your favor in the future can result in an increase in financial obligations.

A California Court of Appeals recently held that a marital settlement agreement that required a substantial increase in a wife’s support obligation had to be followed despite a material change in circumstances.  If you wish to dissolve your marriage, it is in your best interest to consult a California divorce attorney as soon as possible, to assist you in seeking a settlement agreement that protects your rights now and in the future.

Facts Regarding the Marriage and Separation

Reportedly, husband and wife were married for over 18 years and had two children together. They separated in 2012 and in 2014 dissolved their marriage. A marriage settlement agreement (MSA) and post-judgment stipulation (PJS) were incorporated into the terms of the court’s order dissolving their marriage.  The MSA provided that the wife would pay the husband $850 in monthly spousal support, plus 10% of any income she earned per year in excess of $180,000. The MSA also provided that either party could petition the court to modify the spousal support, after which the court would be obligated to consider the income of the parties at the time of the separation. Additionally, the wife agreed to notify the husband if she changed jobs. The PJS subsequently reduced the amount of support payments owed by wife on a sliding scale.

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