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AttyCBradford
AttyCBradford, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 643
Experience:  Criminal Defense and Family Law Attorney serving California Statewide
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Ive been divorced for 5 years. I was married for 24 years.

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I've been divorced for 5 years. I was married for 24 years. I currently pay $2700 per month spousal support. My ex and I are both 55. In March we both will receive our share of my pension from a previous employer. I will receive $3600, she'll receive $2400. The court attributed $2500/month income to my ex at the beginning of the divorce, (Gavron order).

I want to petition the court to reduce or eliminate my continuing support in light of her pension income. I believe Sheridan is a relevant case? I would like to propose directly to my ex that I would continue to pay the current support amount for 1 year, then reduce it to $1,000 until age 62 1/2 when she can begin collecting social security. Alternatively, if we go to court I request support ceases in 6 months (or a year) in light of her pension income? My strategy being that my offer is reasonable, avoids attorney's fees on her part, and that the court may rule less favorably for her. Does this sound reasonable and do the two cases referenced (Gavron and Sheridan) support my position?

AttyCBradford :

Hello! Based on the fact that you have been paying support for 5 years, and your spouse has not attempted to find substantial employment (which they were required to do so if a Gavron warning was issued) you could petition the court and ask for what we call an imputed income. Essentially, at the very least the Court would assume that she is or could obtain a minimum wage job and impute that monthly income into the dissomaster when calculating support issues. So you could move for a reduction there.

AttyCBradford :

Additionally, a post judgment spousal support payment is always modifiable, unless the language says otherwise in the judgment which is rare. To get a modification you must show a material change of circumstances since the order was made which is outlined in the Gavron case you referenced. Here, your change of circumstances would be (1) that the other party has not obtained substantial employment or made the efforts, and (2) that they are now receiving an "income"

AttyCBradford :

On that same note you should consider the fact that the court has held that a "change of circumstances" must be a fact which was not contemplated at the time the prior order was made. That being said, your partner may argue that you were well aware that they would be receiving this additional income eventually and you should have known about it. Marriage of Lautsbaugh (1999) 72 Cal App 4 th 1131.

AttyCBradford :

On the other hand, "...the standard rule that modifications in support orders may only be granted if there has been a material change of circumstances since the last order was not designed to circumvent the goal that supported spouses become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. In re Shaughnessy, supra, 139 Cal.App.4th at 1237, citing In re Marriage of Schaffer (1999) 69 Cal.App.4th 801, 803-804.

AttyCBradford :

The Schaffer case is in line with the Sheridan case you referenced.

AttyCBradford :

I think your offer of reducing it to a $1000/month is more than fair, in light of the fact that you could end up paying a lot more in attorneys fees and you could (not a guarantee) ask that they terminate that day for her not becoming self supporting

AttyCBradford :

If I have answered all your questions then please press accept and provide positive feedback, so I receive credit for my work. If not and you have additional questions please ask, and I will respond promptly. Please note: this is a PAID ANSWERING service, once your question has been answered, press accept. This conversation does not constitute an attorney-client relationship and is offered for informational purposes only. Lastly, sometimes it may take a moment to respond as I work with several customers at a time. Thank you and best of luck.

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