Ask to change your long-term spousal support order

If something significant related to your financial situation changes after your divorce is final, you can ask the court to change your long-term spousal or domestic partner support order.   

Before you start

Gather information that shows your financial information changed. The court will only change a long-term spousal support order if something significant has changed since the court made the last order. 

Ask the court to change support as soon as your financial situation changes. 

If the court changes the amount, it can only change the amount as far back as the date you filed the papers asking for the change. 
    If you and your spouse can agree to change support, you can write-up your agreement and submit it to the court for a judge to sign. Find out how to prepare a long-term support agreement.


    How to ask to change long-term spousal support

    • Fill out the Request for Order form

      Request for Order (form FL-300)

      Use this form to tell the court: 

      • What order you want

      • Why it should order that way 

      For spousal support, use item 4 on page 3, and “Facts to Support” (item 10 on page 4). If you need to change any other orders, like child custody or support, you can ask to change those at the same time. Fill in those items as well. 

      Item 10, “Facts to Support,” on Page 4 asks you to explain why the court should order what you requested. Write down the facts, not just opinions, that support what you’re telling the court. 

      When you ask to change long-term spousal support, the judge must use the same set of factors (the Family Code 4320 factors) to decide the new terms (length and amount) of support. So, you will need to let the court know what your situation is for each of these factors. Explain how it is different from when the court made the last order.

       If you need more space, check the box that says “Attachment 10.” You can use Attached Declaration (form MC-031).

      Spousal or Domestic Partner Support Declaration Attachment (form FL-157

      This form asks you for the information the judge needs to make a decision about long-term support. It has all the factors a judge must consider when making decisions about long-term support. This form is optional, but if you don’t use it, you will need to explain in a separate document the same factors. 

    • Fill out the Income and Expense Declaration

      Income and Expense Declaration (form FL-150)

      This form asks how much money you earn and how you spend your money.  

      • Attach proof of your income (like paystubs) from the past two months to the form. 
      • Do not attach a copy of your last year’s taxes. Bring a copy (if you have one) to the hearing.  
    • Attach documents to support your case

      Sometimes it's important to have documents that support your case. If you have anything that shows how your financial situation changed, you can attach or file these with your request so the judge can consider them at the hearing.

      • Documents might include a receipt, bill, unemployment paperwork, or letter from your employer
      • Black out any private information like a Social Security number or account numbers
      • If there is a witness (someone who saw or personally knows something), you can ask them to write and sign a statement that says what they know. Learn more about witness statements.

      If you don't have these ready now, you can file them later.

    • Make copies of your forms

      After you’ve filled out, signed, and dated both forms, make 2 copies of the forms and any attachments.  

    • File your forms

      To file your forms with the court:

      • Give the original and the 2 copies to the court clerk  

      • Pay a $60 fee (unless you’ve gotten a fee waiver) 

      There may be other fees. For example, if you’re also asking to change child custody or visitation. If you can't afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver

      Fee waivers expire at the end of case (when the divorce judgment was filed). You will need to ask for another one if you haven't since your last one expired. 

      The clerk will:  

      • Stamp the forms 

      • Write a hearing date on the Request for Order form 

      • Keep the original form and return the copies to you 

      A judge will make a decision about your request at the hearing. 

      Yes, you can file by mail. Mail your original and 2 copies to the clerk. You need to include the filing fee and a self-addressed stamped envelope so the clerk can mail your copies back to you. If you do not include a self-addressed, stamped envelope you will have to go to the courthouse to pick up your copies.  

      Some courts allow online filing (called e-file). You can find out if your court has online filing by visiting your court’s website.  

    Long-term spousal support

    What's next?

    Once you’ve filed the forms, the next step is to serve your spouse. 


    Before or after you served the papers, you can start to prepare for your court date.

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