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.

Temporary or Permanent Alimony

When it comes to alimony, there are two different forms, known as temporary and permanent. Temporary is a regular payment that is made by the spouse who earns more. This is meant to provide financial support during the divorce proceedings. Software is used to help determine the amount of temporary alimony. This software breaks down income, health insurance deductions, and other related earnings.

Permanent alimony is long-term support. It involves a variety of circumstances and is at or near the marital standard of living. Permanent alimony is awarded following the divorce. The length of this support can vary drastically and will ultimately be determined by the court.

Circumstance to Consider

When it comes to separation, numerous factors are involved in how the case will be handled. This is especially true when considering pursuing spousal support. If you decide you want to seek spousal support or are concerned that you may have to pay spousal support, the court will consider a few different factors. The most significant factor is the extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living that was established during the marriage. This essentially means that as a separating couple, there is a level of legality in maintaining the financial state in which you lived during your marriage. The court will ultimately decide this based on a variety of factors, including:

  • Marketable skills. What marketable skills does the supported party have regarding the job market? This includes the availability of work and the time and expense required for these specific careers. In addition to this, it also factors in any need to acquire appropriate education or training. It can even consider whether the person would require retraining or education to develop more marketable skills.
  • Extent of joblessness. Another factor considers the length of time the supported spouse has been out of the employment market. These periods of unemployment typically relate to time dedicated to domestic duties. This essentially means that if you left a financially rewarding job or career to focus on maintaining the domestic life of your home, you might be able to receive support because you left employment for the sake of your family.
  • The ability to pay. Naturally, the amount a spouse makes can impact the ability to receive spousal support. A court will not favor spousal support if there is no money. There needs to be evidence of financial stability.
  • Obligations and assets. Your assets and current obligations can have a large impact on what type of spousal support you could receive.
  • Duration of marriage. Spousal support can largely be factored by how long the marriage lasted. Shorter marriages may not hold as much ground for means of rewarding spousal support. This will be determined by the court and is primarily decided on a case-by-case basis.
  • Ability to gain employment with dependent children. When it comes to factoring children into a separation, things can get complicated. The court will explore if the potentially supported party can gain employment without interfering with the interests of dependent children.
  • Age and health. This can also be a contributing factor when determining spousal support. Age and health can impact a variety of aspects of life. If someone is older or in bad health, they may not be able to provide support long term. If someone is close to retirement, this may also impact their overall financial situation in the future.
  • Domestic violence. While no one should ever face this in a marriage, there is the unfortunate truth that domestic violence does happen. If there is documented evidence of domestic violence, it can influence the court when it comes to the decision regarding rewarding spousal support.
  • Balance of hardships. Hardships do happen, and this is just one of the many factors the court will consider when determining the idea of support.


How Long Does Spousal Support Last?

The length of spousal support can vary. No divorce is the same, so no ruling of spousal support is the same. The court will take a variety of factors into consideration first. In general, the length of spousal support is typically half the length of a marriage that lasted less than 10 years. Other instances are left to the discretion of the court.

Modifying or Terminating Support

There are options for modifying or terminating spousal support. Either spouse can initiate the process of modification. Either can request that the duration and/or amount be changed. If in agreement, the separated parties can decide on a modification that works for both. If the two parties are unable to agree, the court may once again get involved. Spousal support can also be terminated. This would need to be determined by the court, and there would need to be proof that there is a change of circumstances to warrant the termination of support.

Pursuing Spousal Support

Divorce is never easy, and it shouldn’t mean the end of financial stability. If you feel that you are eligible for this type of support, it is important to hire an experienced attorney such as those at Bickford, Blato & Botros. They understand the sensitive criteria needed to apply for and obtain this type of support. You need someone on your side who understands the various factors involved. Get in touch with us today to start your journey.



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