Request to Terminate Spousal Support in California

In In re Marriage of Gavron (1988) 203 Cal.App.3d 705, the trial court granted the former husband's request to terminate spousal support, stating that the former wife's "'failure to become employable or to seek training after so many years shifts the burden to her to demonstrate her continued need for support in light of her continued inaction in this regard.'" (Id. at pp. 709-710.) The Court of Appeal recognized that "'the Legislature intended that all supported spouses who were able to do so should seek employment. . . . and that courts would issue orders encouraging these spouses to seek employment and to work toward becoming self-supporting.' " (Id. at p. 711.) Nevertheless, the Gavron court reversed the trial court's ruling because the former wife had not been informed of the expectation that she become self-sufficient. The court explained: "Inherent in the concept that the supported spouse's failure to at least make good-faith efforts to become self-sufficient can constitute a change in circumstances which could warrant a modification in spousal support is the premise that the supported spouse be made aware of the obligation to become self-supporting." (Id. at p. 712.) This awareness, the court stated, could be provided by "an explicit statement by the court at the time of its original support order regarding employment expectations of the supported spouse . . . ." (Ibid.)