How Does California Determine Spousal Support in Divorce?

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Whether your marriage lasted two years or 52 years, facing divorce is frightening. Adding to that stress is the unknown of going from a dual-income household to a single income, especially if you and your partner have children. Do you know how does California determines spousal support in divorce?

In California, there are two types of spousal support:

  • Temporary support is designed to provide financial assistance to a dependent spouse for a limited amount of time.
  • Permanent support is designed to provide financial assistance to a dependent spouse permanently.

The court takes into account numerous factors to determine whether they order spousal support or not. Below are a few of the most common contributing factors:

  • Children
  • Contributions to the marriage
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Earning capability
  • Financial resources
  • Sources of income
  • Standard of living established during the marriage

As you move through your divorce process, Seabrook Law Offices will review all options with you before making any decisions. Once the court awards you spousal support, it is essential to note that it can be modified if there is a justified reason, such as a substantial change in circumstance or if the person paying spousal support has a significant reduction in income.

Earning Capacity of Each Party to Maintain the Standard of Living Established During the Marriage

The court will determine your standard of living during the marriage. This standard of living often refers to the degree of comfort you and your partner enjoyed during your marriage. Factors that determine your standard of living include the income you and your spouse have grown accustomed to, as evidenced by your assets and tax returns.

  • The marketable skill of the spouse receiving support.
  • Demand for those skills in the job market.
  • Time and expense the spouse will need to receive education to develop marketable skills or get a job.
  • The extent that the spouse was impaired by periods of unemployment due to domestic duties or obligations.

Financial Support the Supported Spouse Has Given to the Other Spouse

It is remarkable how many times a spouse will work to support the other spouse through educational efforts to improve their financial earning capacity. As soon as that earning capacity comes to fruition, they file for divorce. If a spouse has supported another spouse, it will enable them to earn more money, leaning towards a more significant spousal support award.

Supporting Spouse’s Ability to Pay

A judge must look at the person who will be paying—how much can he or she pay based on income or assets? The more money that person has to pay, the more likely the court will enter an order of spousal support.

Each Spouse’s Obligations and Assets

Other debts or responsibilities exist between the parties that can help determine the complete financial picture and assist the court in deciding what would be a fair award of spousal support.

The Length of the Marriage

In California, the duration of spousal support is related to the length of the marriage. The law states that a “reasonable period” may be one-half the length of the marriage. For example, if you were married for eight years, it would be reasonable to receive spousal support for four years.

A marriage of at least ten years is considered long-term and will usually result in a permanent award of spousal support. A marriage of fewer than ten years can be considered for long-term purposes for spousal support in rare cases.

The Custodial Parent’s Gainful Employment and How It Affects the Children

Simply put, children require care. A lack of financial resources makes it difficult for a custodial parent to care for the children, which means the children’s needs could justify indefinite spousal support to protect the welfare of the children.

If Domestic Violence Is A Proven Factor, California Law Protects the Abused Spouse

California law is stringent on this factor. Victims of domestic violence should not be required to support their abuser financially.

As you are going through your divorce, you need a legal team you can rely on to alleviate anxiety related to spousal support. At Seabrook Law Offices, our dedicated, experienced attorneys and legal team provide compassionate service during your time of need. We recognize that the family court system is a sewer system, and it is best to get out as soon as possible. If you have children, now is time to put on your “grown-up” pants and put their wellbeing first. That is why we focus on getting you to settlement wherever possible to allow you and your family to resolve vital issues so you can fully embrace the new life that awaits.

Our attorneys will meet with you to understand your specific situation. Spousal Support can be complicated, do not try to navigate these complex waters alone. Trust the experienced team of attorneys at Seabrook Law Offices. Complete our online form or call us at 408-560-4487.

Copyright© 2021. Seabrook Law Offices. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

Seabrook Law Offices
6840 Via Del Oro, Suite 265
San Jose, CA 95119
Phone: 408-560-4487

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