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Articles Tagged with spousal support modification

Understanding Spousal Support

Understanding-Spousal-Support

Divorce is never an easy process. There are endless factors that can contribute to the ease and difficulty of a legal separation. Many different laws apply when filing and following through with a divorce. One factor to consider when obtaining a divorce in California is the concept of spousal support, which can also be known as alimony. When couples legally separate, the court may order one spouse or partner to pay a certain amount of support money each month. This can be a problematic issue, and it is crucial to find a family law firm that can help you understand support, calculate the amount of support, and help prepare court forms.

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How Is Spousal Support Determined?

How-Is-Spousal-Support-Determined

One aspect of the divorce process that is often misunderstood is spousal support, also referred to as alimony. References to this form of support are often made in the media. Many people wonder why spousal support exists in the first place, beyond a convenient plot device to add drama to an already tense situation. It’s natural for people to be confused about how the courts determine when spousal support is applicable, how much spousal support is owed, and why it’s necessary to have any spousal support at all. Like many other aspects of family law, spousal support has been a part of the system for many years and was created with justice and people’s well-being in mind. That being said, the basic concept of spousal support has certainly undergone several transformations since it was first conceived.

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Attorney fees can be a very important issue in many divorce cases. Most family law litigants in California, and certainly their attorneys, are familiar with Family Code section 2030, which awards attorney fees on a “need and ability” basis. This statute is designed to make sure that each party has equal access to legal representation. This makes perfect sense: as a matter of public policy, we don’t want people prevailing on issues as important as child support and child custody because the prevailing party had an attorney and the losing party did not.

There are, however, many other mechanisms that allow the Court to award attorney fees and/or sanctions, many of which are underutilized. They are discussed below.

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If you are going through or have gone through a divorce in California you’ve probably figured out that the length of marriage becomes very important and can become a hotly contested issue at divorce time. While the length of marriage is relevant for a number of issues in divorce litigation, there is special and controversial significance in relation to spousal support. This is because, under the family code, the future of spousal support may follow a very different course once a marriage hits the 10-year mark, as opposed to a marriage that lasted less than 10 years. This particular magic number comes into play because under the family code, a marriage of 10 years or more is presumed to be a marriage of “long duration” (more commonly referred to as a long-term marriage). (FC 4336)

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