How California Spousal Support Is Determined

When you go through a divorce, the process itself can be expensive and most clients just want the process to end so they can move on with their lives. After all, it’s a sign of a failed relationship and nobody wants to drag themselves and their loved ones through this process any longer than necessary.

The process could be even more expensive and drag out beyond the divorce proceedings should the court determine spousal support (often referred to as alimony) is necessary. Whether you’re the paying spouse or receiving spouse, it’s important to understand the process.

Types of spousal support

Spousal support is usually a means to ensure a person isn’t forced to completely alter their lifestyle and make too many adjustments after the divorce is finalized. This could include situations where the receiving spouse had left their career to raise kids or take care of other important home tasks. If you made major career sacrifices to cater to the lifestyle of your family, you’re likely to be owed some form of spousal support.

There are two main types of spousal support in California:

  • Temporary support
  • Permanent support

Temporary support is as the name suggests: temporary. The term is generally for the timeframe that it takes to finalize your divorce. This form of spousal support provides for a spouse who needs to find additional housing, transportation, and other necessities while the divorce plays out.

Permanent support is support paid throughout the lifetime of both spouses. These cases generally apply if there is a long-term marriage of about 10 years or more and the receiving spouse left the workforce during the marriage and cannot be reasonably expected to obtain the skills and training necessary to re-enter the workforce. Reasons such as age, disability, and other limiting factors will be considered. The permanent support can be adjusted or canceled due to life changes such as a successful job search or a subsequent remarriage.

Calculating support

Once the courts determine the type of spousal support owed, the calculation process comes next. For temporary forms of spousal support, there are actual calculators that the court uses (some of which you can find online) that determine the amount.

Permanent payments don’t have a specific calculator in the way temporary payments do. Instead, the courts will consider:

  • Earning capacity of each party
  • Marketable job skills and the job market for those skills
  • Time and cost required to obtain the necessary job skills
  • How periods of unemployment during the marriage impact marketability
  • Needs of each party to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage

Other factors such as age, health, and history of domestic violence can impact these decisions. 

To make sure you get the most out of your divorce, it’s important to have the right attorney by your side. At KL Family Law, we know the nuances that go into determining spousal support. We want to support you through this tough time and help you move forward with compassion and integrity. Contact our offices and get your divorce done right.

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At KL Family Law, we understand that your primary concern is the well-being of your children. We strive to offer tailored solutions for your family law needs and help you move forward through this difficult transition.

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