Does The Trial Court Have The Ability To Modify A Temporary Support Order Retroactively:

Posted on March 12th, 2013

In 2011, the California Court of Appeals in In Re Marriage of Gruen, (2011) 191 CA4th 627, held that the Trial Court lacked jurisdiction to retroactively modify a temporary spousal support order retroactively upon receipt of additional information.

From a practical standpoint, the court needs to enter temporary support orders to maintain the status quo. As a result, without the ability to retroactively modify a support order, another motion to modify support was necessary, based on additional evidence or a change in circumstances.

Now, in 2012, In Re Marriage of Freitas, (2012) 209 Cal. App. 4th 1059 declined to follow Gruen and holds that the Court may reserve jurisdiction (i.e. the ability) to modify a temporary support retroactively, after receipt of additional evidence.

The recommendation now is that to protect your right to retroactively modify a temporary support order, pending further discovery or determination of one party’s income, any order should include a Gruen waiver and confirm that the Court does have jurisdiction to modify retroactively pursuant to Marriage of Freitas.