What You Need to Know About Spousal Support in California

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If you are currently going through a divorce, you might be wondering about spousal support or alimony. Do you qualify for spousal support? If so, how long will it last? How much will you receive? These are some questions that might be running through your mind.

In California, spousal support is when one spouse pays another after separating and planning to divorce. In California, there are different types of spousal support.

Spouses can request temporary spousal support at the start of divorce proceedings, and then permanent spousal support later on. It may seem like temporary and permanent spousal support are self-explanatory, but they are more complicated than they seem, which is why it is a good idea to consult with a divorce lawyer.

Temporary Spousal Support

Temporary spousal support is an award made before the divorce is finalized. The spouse with the lower earning capacity of the two parties may seek temporary spousal maintenance for support during the divorce proceedings. It turns to permanent spousal support once the court has made that determination. The court will determine the amount and duration of permanent spousal support if no agreement is made by the parties.

Temporary spousal support is awarded in most divorces when there is a disparity in income. This is true even in short-term marriages where the parties have been married for less than ten years, but only if there is a disparity in income.

Permanent Spousal Support

On the other hand, permanent spousal support is a regular payment from the paying spouse to the supported spouse that continues after the divorce. The purpose of permanent spousal support is to ensure that the supported spouse remains at or near the “marital standard of living,” which is the financial standard of living established during the marriage.

Determining Permanent Spousal Support

If not agreed upon during divorce negotiations, a judge will decide on the amount and duration of permanent spousal support payments. The court will consider each spouse’s earning capacity and ability to maintain the marital standard of living. Several factors are taken into account when a court determines spousal support, including:

  • Earning capacity
  • Marketable skills of the supported party
  • Supported party’s future earning capacity
  • Paying spouse’s ability to pay alimony
  • Length of the marriage
  • Both spouse’s obligations
  • The age and health of the spouses
  • Taxes
  • And anything else the Court wants to consider

If you are currently going through a divorce and are overwhelmed and searching for “divorce lawyers near me,” contact Seabrook Law Offices. Our divorce lawyers can walk you through every step of the process and make sure you understand all of your options.

How Long Does Permanent Spousal Support Last?

Although California law recognizes the terms temporary and permanent spousal support, the term permanent spousal support is a bit misleading. Permanent support is not usually for life and can be modified in certain circumstances.

For short-term marriages that last under 10 years, permanent spousal support generally will not exceed half the length of the marriage. Therefore, if your marriage lasted nine years, you can reasonably expect to receive spousal support for four and a half years.

There is no specific rule for determining permanent spousal support for marriages longer than 10 years. Judges will consider all of the necessary factors to ensure that the supported spouse remains as close as possible to the marital standard of living until that spouse can reasonably be expected to become self-supporting.

How Much Spousal Support Will I Be Awarded?

There is no hard and fast rule in California for determining the value of a spousal support award. A judge will determine this amount on a case-by-case basis. As a guideline, courts will consider the marital standard of living and how much each spouse earns. Some people must pay hundreds of dollars in permanent spousal support, while others must pay thousands of dollars to a supported party. Contact a family law attorney to learn how much you or your spouse may have to pay. If the receiving spouse remarries, gets a job, or has other relevant changes in circumstances, a spousal support order may be terminated early. A spousal support agreement can also be changed if either spouse’s income has changed significantly since the order was issued, such as losing a job.

Contact Seabrook Law Offices Today

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 divorce 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 divorce lawyers at Seabrook Law Offices. Complete our online form or call us at 408-560-4487.

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Copyright© 2022. 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 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 based on 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.

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6840 Via Del Oro, Suite 265,
San Jose, CA 95119

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