While divorce may signal the end of a marriage, there are times when it does not necessarily end one party’s obligation to the other. Subject to the circumstances of the divorce, the court may direct one party to make financial payments to the other to protect them from the financial impacts of the divorce. This payment is known as alimony or spousal support.
Under California law, spousal support can be terminated on a number of grounds. Here are three questions that can help you determine whether it is time to end spousal support in California.
Has the spousal support served its purpose?
The court may order one party to pay rehabilitative spousal support so the receiving party may pursue the education or skills necessary to secure employment. As the name suggests, this type of spousal support is usually meant to serve a specific purpose. Upon achieving its goals both parties may mutually agree to stop any further payments. Sometimes, the paying party may petition the court to terminate this form of spousal support if the receiving party refuses to seek the education or training that they need to find work so they can provide for themselves.
Has the receiving party remarried?
Under California law, the obligation to pay spousal support automatically comes to an end when the receiving party remarries or enters into cohabitation with a romantic partner. In this case, the receiving party must inform their ex of the remarriage. If they do not, and they continue receiving alimony, then the paying party may petition the court to order a refund for the amount they received while married. It is important to understand that any overdue payment must be made.
Has the receiving party passed on?
Same as remarriage, spousal support obligation automatically ends when either party dies. Meaning, the supported spouse’s estate may not claim alimony payments after their demise. Likewise, the paying spouse’s estate may not be compelled to continue making alimony payments after their death.
Just like with child support, spousal support order is never cast in stone. Find out when and how you can petition for the termination of an existing alimony order.