Can I modify my spousal support obligation if I move out of state and get a lower paying job?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I modify my spousal support obligation if I move out of state and get a lower paying job?

My ex-wife is 100% disabled and has state assistance. It is getting to be too expensive in CA for me to live here with my new wife and our 2 children. Is moving out of state a legal reason to modify support? My income would be 50% of what it is now but my quality of life would improve, as it would for my children.

Asked on January 13, 2019 under Family Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, improving your life is NOT grounds to modify the assistance you pay. The law does not let you use your own voluntary action, such as a voluntary reduction in income or increase in your expenses, to reduce your obligation to your ex-spouse. Only factors beyond your control (e.g. if you became disabled and could not work; if you were involuntarily laid off and after several months and showing your efforts to find a new job, could only find work  at much lower salary, such as if your career has been replaced or superceded by technology) would justify a reduction in support.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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