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Los Gatos spousal support and alimony attorneyAlimony, spousal support, partner support…whatever you call it, it can be a complicated process to determine whether you or your ex-spouse qualify to receive financial support during your divorce case. It is important to discuss your options with an attorney to determine eligibility for alimony, the amount of payments, and the length of time that the support will continue. Whether you are the payor or the payee, you will want to make sure that you are the decisions made will meet your needs and protect your financial security. 

How Is Spousal Support Determined?

Eligibility for spousal support, or partner support in the case of domestic partnership, must be determined in court. A support order can be established through a divorce, legal separation, or annulment, or as part of a domestic violence restraining order. Temporary support may also be granted by a court during litigation, with the final decisions regarding support being finalized in the divorce or legal separation agreement. 

The actual amount of the support payments will vary depending on many factors, such as how long the couple was married or in a domestic partnership, the standard of living, both parties’ incomes and potential incomes based on their education and experience, the children involved and care needed for them, debts, property, and much more. The presence of domestic violence may also be a determining factor. 

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Los Gatos spousal support lawyerWhen a couple gets divorced, the higher-earning spouse may be required to pay spousal support to a non-working or lower-paid spouse for some period of time after the divorce. This is called “permanent” spousal support, as opposed to the “temporary” spousal support that may be paid while a divorce is pending. 

However, do not let the term “permanent” confuse you. So-called “permanent” spousal support will not necessarily be for the rest of your life. Its duration will depend on several factors, including the length of the marriage and the ability of the supported party to become self-supporting. In fact, Section 4320 of the California Family Code states that a supported spouse is expected to become self-supporting “within a reasonable period of time.” 

Length of Marriage Affects Duration of California Spousal Support 

The duration of the marriage is a major factor in determining the duration of spousal support. If a couple has been married for less than 10 years, a “reasonable period of time” is generally defined as one-half the length of the marriage. For example, if a couple was married for six years, the court would typically award spousal support for no longer than three years. However, the court has total discretion to order support for a longer or shorter period of time based on the totality of the couple’s circumstances.

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