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Determining Spousal Support in a California Divorce

Posted on in Spousal Support

b2ap3_thumbnail_alimony_20180615-235242_1.jpgWhen a married couple decides to get a divorce, one spouse may be eligible to receive spousal support (also known as alimony) from their former partner. These payments allow a spouse who earns less to support themselves as they transition from married life to single life. Divorcing spouses should be sure to understand how California law applies to their situation as they determine their eligibility for spousal support.

Temporary vs. Permanent Spousal Support

After spouses have separated and begun the divorce process, the lower-earning spouse may file a motion asking for temporary spousal support to be paid while the divorce is pending. Each county uses its own methods for calculating this temporary support. In Santa Clara County, temporary support is determined by taking 40% of the paying spouse’s net income and subtracting 50% of the receiving spouse’s net income.

At the end of the divorce process, if a spouse is eligible to receive spousal support, a judge will order permanent support. The amount of this support will be up to the judge’s discretion based on the receiving spouse’s needs and the paying spouse’s ability to pay. For marriages of less than 10 years, spousal support payments will typically be paid for half the length of the marriage. For long-term marriages of more than 10 years, permanent spousal support may not have an end date.

Factors Considered When Awarding Spousal Support

California law outlines the following factors that a judge should consider when determining whether to award spousal support:

  • How well each spouse will be able to maintain the standard of living they enjoyed while married based on their skills, the job market, the time needed to obtain education or training, and whether either party’s earning ability has been impaired because of periods of unemployment which occurred because they chose to devote their time to domestic duties.
  • Whether the spouse seeking support contributed to the other spouse’s education, training, or career advancement.
  • The ability of a spouse to pay support based on their earning capacity and the assets they own.
  • Each spouse’s needs, based on their standard of living while married.
  • Each spouse’s obligations and the assets they own.
  • The length of the marriage.
  • Whether the spouse seeking support will be able to work without impairing their ability to care for their children.
  • Each spouse’s age and health.
  • Whether either spouse has a history of domestic violence.
  • The tax consequences of spousal support for each spouse.
  • The hardships that each spouse experiences during separation and divorce.
  • The goal of the spouse seeking spousal support to become self-supporting within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Whether spousal support should be reduced or eliminated because of a spouse’s criminal conviction for abuse.
  • Any other relevant factors.

Contact a Los Gatos Divorce Lawyer

If you are concerned about your ability to support yourself after divorce, or if you want to ensure that the amount of spousal support you should pay will be determined correctly, the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca can advocate for your interests throughout the divorce process. Contact a Los Gatos, CA spousal support attorney today by calling 408-395-8822 to arrange a free consultation.




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Los Gatos, CA 95030

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