The purpose of spousal support is to maintain a standard of living that is near that which was established during the marriage. Temporary orders are often put in place during the separation and divorce process, while ongoing orders would accompany the final divorce decree.
Many people believe California law creates an absolute right to spousal support. However, far from being an entitlement or simple calculation, spousal support is based on a set of 14 factors with the court having wide discretion over their interpretation of these factors. These factors include:
- The extent to which each of the parties themselves is capable of contributing to the established standard of living.
- The extent to which the lesser earning spouse supported the higher earner while they were establishing themselves and their earning capacities.
- The supporting spouse’s ability to pay, as determined by the current situation, not past or future earnings or potential earnings.
- The needs of each of the parties with respect to the established standard of living.
- The parties assets and debts, including those that are not mingled within the marriage.
- How long the marriage lasted. Generally speaking, the longer a spouse may have been out of the workforce the more likely the need for spousal support.
- Impact on dependent children for the supported to attain worthwhile employment.
- Age and health of each of the parties. This factor may also come into play as to the duration of the support order.
- History of domestic violence between the parties.
- Tax implications.
- The balance of hardships between the parties, their needs and obligations, and the impact of the support order itself.
- The goal that the supporting spouse will become self-sufficient within a reasonable amount of time.
- The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse.
- Any other factor the court determines to be relevant.
In addition to the above factors, it should be noted that it is a stated goal of California that each of the parties makes a good faith effort to become self-sufficient.
If you would like to learn more about your individual situation, or to schedule a free consultation contact the offices of Hoover Krepelka Family Law Attorneys at (408) 389-7099 to speak to one of our skilled professionals today.