Prepare an agreement to change long-term support

If you and your spouse or domestic partner agree to change your long-term spousal support judgment, you can have your agreement (also called a stipulation) made a court order without having to go in front of a judge. 

Your court's Self-Help Center staff may be able to assist you. 

Your court’s Self-Help Center (or Family Law Facilitator) may be able to explain spousal support or help you with the forms. They can't tell you if you should sign the agreement.

How to write up a spousal support agreement

  • Know what factors you'll have to include in an agreement

    You can't base the new amount on a support calculator program.  Long-term spousal support is based on the Family Code 4320 factors. 

    In your agreement, you must 

    • Show what your situation is for each of the factors
    • Explain how it's different from when the court made the last order

    You can see all these factors in Understand the factors a judge must consider or Spousal or Partner Support Declaration Attachment (form FL-157).


  • Decide how much, how long and how it will be paid

    How much one person will pay the other each month 

    Spousal support is usually a set amount each month. But, if someone’s income changes, there are other options, like having support increase one month if your spouse gets a bonus. You can also agree that it will change over time.

    How long support will be paid  

    You can agree on a date that support will end. 

    How the payments will be made 

    You can agree for payments to be made either 

    • Directly between the two of you 

    • Directly from the person’s paycheck (called an earnings assignment or wage garnishment) 

    Once you agree on all these issues, you need to write-up the agreement. 

  • Write-up your agreement

    You can use court forms. If you don't, you will need to write your own Declaration that has the same information.

    • Spousal, Domestic Partner, or Family Support Order Attachment (form FL-343)

      Use Form FL-343 to write out the details of your agreement.

    • Spousal or Partner Support Declaration Attachment (form FL-157)

      Use Form FL-157 to show the judge that you considered all the Family Code 4320 factors before agreeing to the change. 

    • Spousal or Domestic Partner Support Factors Under Family Code Section 4320—Attachment (form FL-349

      Use Form FL-349 to explain your final agreement about the Family Code 4320 factors. Attach this to form FL-343

    You will need a cover sheet for your agreement attachments. You will both need to sign and date the coversheet, and leave space for the judge to sign. You can use a 


    or your court’s Self-Help Center may have a coversheet you can use.

  • Sign and make copies of the agreement

    Both you and your spouse need to sign the agreement. Then you need to make two copies. 

    Make sure you understand the agreement before you sign. 

    You can always ask a lawyer to review the agreement before signing. Even if you don’t hire a lawyer for your whole case, they can be paid hourly to review documents and give you advice. This is called limited-scope representation.

  • Take your agreement to get judge’s signature and pay fee

    Unlike other forms, agreements don’t get filed right away. A judge has to sign the agreement before it can be filed. You will generally need to pay a filing fee.

    Ask a clerk or the Family Law Facilitator 

    • Where to bring the agreement to get a judge’s signature 

    • How you get the signed agreement back 

    • What your fee will be

    It may take several days to get the signed copy back. You may be able to pick it up in person or have the court mail it to you.  

    If you agreed to have support paid by earnings assignment (wage garnishment), also turn in an Earnings Assignment Order for Spousal or Partner Support (form FL-435). If you also have a child support order, use Income Withholding Order for Support (form FL-195). The judge needs to sign this too.


    There is usually a fee to file an agreement. The fee is generally $20. If one of you hasn't paid their first filing fee ($435-$450) that person may also need to pay this fee. If you can't afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver.


  • Get back signed agreement and mail a copy to your spouse

    When you get back the signed agreement, it should have the judge's signature and a stamp that says "filed."  It is now a court order. 

    Have someone over 18, not part of your case, mail a copy of the signed agreement to your former spouse or domestic partner. Complete a Proof of Service by Mail (form FL-335). You server must sign it. File it with the court.

    Have someone over 18, not part of your case, mail a copy of the signed Form FL-435 or FL-195 along with a Request for Hearing Regarding Earnings Assignment (form FL-450) to your former spouse's employer. Complete a Proof of Service by Mail (form FL-335). You server must sign it. File it with the court.

When the judge signs your agreement and it is filed, it becomes the new judgment or order for long-term spousal or domestic partner support. This means you and your spouse or domestic partner must follow the order.

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