Sometimes, when a person in California is ordered to pay spousal support, they dutifully do so for months or even years. However, as the adage goes, "Always expect the unexpected." For example, a sudden job loss or extended illness could make it difficult to pay spousal support. When that happens, a paying spouse may want to seek a modification to their spousal support order.
However, for a variety of reasons, people might hesitate to go to court to change a spousal support order. They may think their financial difficulties are temporary and will soon improve. Their financial situation may have them so worried or stressed that they simply haven't even given any thought to the fact that they need to go through the correct legal channels to modify a spousal support order. Due to various circumstances, filing legal papers is not easy. Simply put, they may think that it would be easier to wait to change their spousal support order later on.
However, one should not wait to change a spousal support order when necessary. This is because such changes are not retroactive. Therefore, if a person lost their job in January, and did not seek a spousal support order until May, the change in spousal support will only be effective starting on the date the order was approved in May, and they would still be on the hook for the full amount that would be due from the previous months. In addition to this, there could be serious ramifications of failing to make timely payments.
Therefore, if a person in California finds that their life circumstances have changed in a way that necessitates a modification to their spousal support order, they should not hesitate to take action. One of the first steps they may want to take is to consult their divorce attorney. Their attorney can explain their rights and responsibilities so that their clients can make informed decisions moving forward.