“Is it possible to change a court order or judgement? My ex-wife recently married a very wealthy man, and I’d like to stop making child and spousal support payments.”
While child support orders are always modifiable upon a change of circumstances, and spousal support — unless expressly made non-modifiable in writing signed by the parties — is also modifiable, the earnings of a new mate or significant other cannot be used to calculate child support except in extra ordinary circumstances. In no event can you ever stop paying child support until the order provides — or the child becomes an adult or dies. The only way you can change child support is to go to court and have the court order a modification.
The income of a new spouse is relevant to a spousal support modification. Further, except in very unusual circumstances, a spouse’s remarriage terminates the obligation to pay spousal support. That should be part of the terms of the order. Indeed, Family Code, Section 4337, provides that even if not included in the judgment, spousal support would still terminate upon remarriage unless there is an agreement in writing providing that it would not so terminate. That statute provides:
Note that property division is not modifiable. The only options are to attempt to vacate the order under specific grounds set forth in the codes, or to successfully appeal the order.
Since 1968, Brian G. Saylin has limited his Orange County practice to the areas of family law and California Appellate Practice. Certified by the State of California as a Specialist in Family Law, Saylin was also elected as a Fellow in the AAML. He has lectured fellow lawyers in the areas of Divorce and Appellate Practice and taught aspiring lawyers at Western State College of Law.