Spousal Support

Spousal Support

In California, spouses can request temporary spousal support, permanent spousal support, or both.

What is “Temporary Spousal Support?

Temporary spousal support is a regular payment made from the spouse who earns more money to the one who earns less. It’s referred to as “temporary” because it’s meant to provide some financial support to the lower-earning spouse during the divorce proceeding, and it ends once a permanent alimony award is in place.

You can calculate temporary alimony using a specialized family law software program that automatically generates a support figure based on specific factors, such as the spouses’ incomes, health insurance deductions, and other earnings-related considerations. Though there are a few different software programs out there, they arrive at roughly the same support figure. Family law attorneys and judges across the state use this type of software to calculate temporary support.

What is “Permanent Spousal Support?”

Permanent Spousal Support, sometimes referred to as “long-term support,” is a regular support payment from the payor spouse to the supported spouse. Unlike temporary spousal support, which is paid to help the supported spouse meet expenses during the divorce, permanent spousal support is granted in order to place the supported spouse at or near the “marital standard of living” (the financial standard of living established during the marriage) after the divorce.

What factors do courts consider when determining permanent spousal support:

If you and your spouse can’t agree on permanent alimony as part of your divorce negotiations, you’ll probably end up in court, where a judge will decide both the amount and duration of long-term support.

When looking at who should pay spousal support, and in what amount, courts consider the extent to which each spouse’s earning capacity (potential to earn income) is sufficient to maintain the marital standard of living, taking into account a long list of factors including:

– the marketable skills of the supported spouse;

– the job market for those skills;

– the time and expense required for the supported spouse to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire more marketable skills or employment;

– the extent to which the supported spouse’s earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment incurred during the marriage to permit the supported spouse to devote time to domestic duties;

– the extent to which the supported spouse contributed to the paying spouse’s attainment of an education, training, career, or license;
the paying spouse’s ability to pay support (taking into account the paying spouse’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living);

– both spouses’ financial needs based on the marital standard of living;

– both spouses’ obligations (debts) and assets, including separate property;

– the length of the marriage;

– the supported spouse’s ability to work outside the home without excessively interfering with the interests of any dependent children in his or her custody; andthe age and health of the spouses.

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Los Angeles Lawyer Robert Gigliotti has developed a unique civil and family law practice located in Encino, California representing Southern California Clients in Family Law and Divorce, Civil Litigation, Personal Injury Law, and Estate Planning since 1991.

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