LEGAL SEPARATION AGREEMENT
It is, of course, important for both parties to adhere to any court ordered judgment after the breakup of a relationship. However, sometimes one partner will fail to do so. In other instances, life circumstances change substantially after the end of a relationship and the judgment is no longer fair to one of the two parties.
In these situations, it is necessary to have a qualified family law attorney help you implement a modification or enforcement of your judgment.
END SPOUSAL SUPPORT
The goal of the court in every divorce action is to create a fair division of both your assets and provide support to the lower earning spouse so that he or she may become self-sufficient within a reasonable time. Many courts accept that half the length of a marriage is a reasonable time in which to become self-sufficient.
If you are coming up on that deadline, you can start taking steps today to lower your support so that the arrangement remains fair.
We can file a motion and request the court to order a vocational evaluation of your spouse – an assessment that examines their education background, level, work experience, and possible areas of employment. In certain cases, this will produce an expert report stating the spouse’s potential earning ability.
The court certainly cannot force your former spouse to work even if the vocational examiner finds that he/she is able to work. However, a judge can impute that income onto him/her. Simply put, the court assigns a fair income to the spouse and recalculates the support figures as if they were earning that income, reducing the support they are entitled to receive.
Another consideration is the presence of a Gavron warning in your judgment. A Gavron warning is an optional clause whereby the spouse who is receiving payments is expected to support themselves within a reasonable amount of time after the divorce, at which point the alimony or spousal support payments would end. It is often included in the judgment when the spousal support order is made.
If your former spouse’s circumstances have changed since your divorce, it’s time to talk to a qualified family law attorney. Is your former spouse collecting alimony while failing to work or work to their potential? Is your former spouse living with a new partner? The Hills Law Group can help.
REDUCE SUPPORT WHEN INCOME GOES DOWN
Court-ordered judgments are intended to be fair to both parties. It’s important to keep them fair as your life circumstances change over the years.
Have your circumstances changed? Did you lose your job? Are you making less money now than when you agreed on child support? Have you been injured and are unable to work? The Hills Law Group can help if your circumstances have changed. Let us help you keep your support payments fair.
You may be surprised to learn that child support in California is modifiable at any time, and when circumstances change, the court can modify the existing child support agreement. If your business is down, you got a pay cut, or are no longer employed, contact the Hills Law Group to consult an attorney to help you adjust your child support payments.
Sometimes, an initial judgment does not provide sufficient funds for the recipient. As mentioned above, the court’s judgment needs to be fair for all people involved. In this case, you have the right request an increase in spousal support if you can prove that the initial judgment was not sufficient to meet your reasonable needs at the time measured AND that the cost of satisfying those needs has since increased.
If you think that this may be the case, contact the Hills Law Group.
ENFORCE YOUR JUDGMENT
A judgment is a final court order and must be followed by both spouses. However, more often than not, after a while one spouse will cease to follow the order by failing to pay debts, failing to list an asset for sale, an improper division of retirement asset, for example.
The victim spouse is then forced to take steps to enforce the judgment. The type of provision violated will determine the method of enforcement used. Call the Hills Law Group to discuss potential remedies for your ex-spouse’s failure to abide by the orders of the court. You have the right to receive the money you are owed.