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What factors do California courts consider for spousal support?

A divorce can be a financially unnerving experience, particularly for a person who has become dependent on their soon-to-be ex-spouse’s income. When a California couple goes through a divorce, the dependent spouse may wonder how they will make ends meet once they are on their own. One option they may have during their divorce to allay their financial worries is spousal support.

Spousal support is also called alimony and is the payment of money from one former spouse to the other. Not all divorces involve awards or agreements for alimony. A person’s family law attorney can advise them on whether spousal support is a possibility in their divorce.

When a court does take a request for spousal support under advisement, it will look at many factors to decide if it is appropriate. This post will explore some of those factors, but as with all posts on this blog, readers should remember that no part of this post contains legal advice.

Considerations for requests for spousal support

As stated, not all divorces involve orders of spousal support. In some cases, individuals emerge from their marriages capable of supporting themselves and their financial requirements. When a party alleges that they will not be able to support themselves, their divorce court will look at specific factors, including but not limited to:

  • The age of the parties and their health
  • The length of the parties’ marriage
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the parties and their needs relative to that established standard
  • The ability of the spouse who will pay to provide support to their ex
  • The earning capacities of the parties and the ability of the requesting party to seek employment
  • Instances of distress, domestic violence, or other actions in the marriage

For example, a party who was in a long-term marriage and who gave up their career to raise their children while their partner worked may claim that they are not prepared to re-enter the workforce after decades out because they no longer have the requisite skills to find gainful employment.

Types of spousal support available in California

Many spousal support orders require paying spouses to provide their exes with monthly payments for support. However, spousal support can be paid in different arrangements. One way that spousal support can be paid is as a lump sum. In this type of arrangement, the paying spouse sends their ex one payment that constitutes the entire support amount that will exist between them.

Spousal support can last for short duration of time, such as to help recipient spouses get ready to re-enter the workforce, but can also last for the entirety of a recipient spouse’s life. The above-mentioned factors will influence how long and how much support a recipient spouse receives. No reader should assume that their spousal support outcome will be the same as anyone else’s as such determinations are based on the facts of specific cases.

Support between ex-spouses is important for many people to continue to live once their marriages is over. A person who has financial concerns about their post-divorce life can talk to their trusted family law attorney about their spousal support options.