California courts typically order one divorcing spouse to pay the other spouse alimony or spousal support in order to help the receiving spouse maintain a certain standard of living similar to that enjoyed during the marriage. Judges take a number of factors into account when considering a request to modify the amount of the support. As a recent case out of the Fourth District Court of Appeals shows, courts have the power to increase spousal support if the paying spouse fails to live up to other obligations.
Husband and Wife separated in 2007, following a 17-year marriage in which the couple had a son. They reached an agreement the following year about how the spouses would divide their property, including a home in San Diego. Husband agreed to pay down a home equity line of credit on the property. Husband also agreed to pay Wife more than $2,100 per month in spousal support and more than $1,700 in child support.
Wife went back to court in 2015, however, asking among other requests that the judge increase the spousal support amount. She explained that Son had since reached the age of 18, and Husband was no longer paying child support. Wife also said that Husband had repeatedly failed to make required payments on the line of credit, which in turn had damaged her credit score. The trial judge agreed to increase the spousal support payments to $4,500 per month.