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Post-judgement alimony

A post-judgment motion to modify spousal support is more difficult than a post-judgment motion to modify child support:  A post-judgment motion to modify child support can usually be handled in one short hearing.  The judge uses the information from each party’s Income & Expense Declaration (FL-150), runs a new child support calculation using a guideline child support calculator such as DissoMaster, and you walk out of court with a new child support number.

A post-judgment motion to modify spousal support is more difficult because, as explained in the “Getting Educated” section of this website, the courts are prohibited from using support calculation software such as DissoMaster to determine the amount of “long term” spousal support.  Support calculation software can be used to set temporary spousal support, but the court is not supposed to use such software to set the amount of spousal support for a divorce judgment or to modify the amount of spousal support that is part of a divorce judgment.   Instead, a post-judgment motion to modify the amount of spousal support requires the court to consider all of the spousal support factors set forth in Family Code section 4320 (click to download).   It takes time for a court to conduct an evidentiary hearing on all of the Family Code 4320 factors.  If you file a post-judgment motion to modify spousal support, don’t be surprised if the court requires multiple court appearances to deal with the motion.  There may be an initial “short cause” hearing, followed by a settlement conference, and finally a “long cause” hearing.

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