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Judicial Discretion to Modify Spousal Support

In deciding whether to modify or terminate a spousal support order, the trial court has broad discretion. In re Marriage of Kuppinger (1975) 48 Cal. App. 3d 628, 633; see In re Marriage of Left (2012) 208 Cal. App. 4th 1137, 1150; In re Marriage of Crobarger (1986) 178 Cal. App. 3d 56, 60.

“Discretion” means an exercise of judgment within the bounds of reason that, as contemplated by law, is not capricious or arbitrary, but impartial, guided and controlled in its exercise by fixed legal principles. Webb v. Webb (1970) 12 Cal. App. 3d 259, 262.

The court must consider and weigh the relevant section 4320 factors, but is not required to make express findings on every section 4320 factor. In re Marriage of Diamond (2021) 72 Cal. App. 5th 595.

Although case law suggests that the court is not required to make express findings on every factor in Family Code § 4320, the opinion in Diamond went so far as to point out to trial courts that the better practice is that trial court make those specific findings, even if it is “not applicable”.

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