Orange County Spousal Support Lawyers
Overview of Spousal Support
After separation, courts can order temporary support to sustain the parties’ status quo during the divorce process. Conversely, the court may order permanent spousal support based on the circumstances of each party. The court will take into consideration:
- the standard of living enjoyed in marriage,
- the requirements of each party, and
- the ability to pay.
While there exist 14 statutory factors the court must consider in a permanent spousal support order, the choice to order support, the amount, and the duration rests within the court’s purview. In most states, no-fault divorce legislation has abandoned the concept of spousal support being a right. Even so, spousal support is generally the final piece of the financial puzzle to be decided upon during a divorce, after child support and asset division have been finalized.
Some Factors the Court Considers In Spousal Support Matters
In accordance with California Family Code §4320, the amount and duration of spousal support are factors determined by considering the following:
- If the spouse requesting the spousal support significantly contributed to the education, training, license or career position of the other;
- Whether each spouse is capable of maintaining the same standard of living established in marriage based on his or her earning capacity;
- The separate property each spouse has;
- Obligations and assets of each party;
- How long the marriage lasted;
- The supporting party’s ability to pay spousal support based on income, assets, standard of living and earning capacity;
- If the spouse demanding spousal support can be employed without significantly interfering with the interests of minor children in their custody;
- Ages of both spouses;
- Other factors that the court may deem equitable.
Is There a Ten-Year Rule in California State?
The general public may believe that California law includes a “ten-year rule” that entitles a spouse in a marriage of at least ten years’ duration to be paid permanent spousal support, this is not the case. Ten years is, nonetheless, an important milestone which can impact on whether the court can revisit the issue of spousal support at some point down the line.
While spousal support in California, which is awarded in a long-term marriage, could be called “permanent,” in reality it is rather rare for a California judge to order actual permanent support. If the receiving spouse claims an inability to work or become fully employed, such claim must be supported with proof. Long-term spousal support orders customarily reduce gradually over time, down to a nominal amount.
Are Alimony and Spousal Support the Same?
In short, yes. The term “alimony” has been phased out over the years and replaced with what is considered the more modern nomenclature, “spousal support.” Some states also use the term “spousal maintenance.” In general, California uses the term “spousal support” to refer to payments made by one spouse to another in the wake of a divorce.
Is There Spousal Support in All Divorces?
The common misconception is that one spouse in a divorce always gets spousal support. In reality, since most divorces are not litigated in the courtroom, it is difficult to know how common court-ordered spousal support is in divorces. Once an agreement between spouses meets all of the California legal requirements, the court will uphold it—even if that agreement includes a waiver of support by the lower-earning spouse.
Some estimates put the number of divorcing spouses who get awarded spousal support at 10-15 percent.
How is Temporary Spousal Support Calculated in the California Family Courts?
In California, short term support can be awarded during the divorce proceeding. This t is known as pendente lite support. There’s a formula for figuring out a temporary spousal support payment in California, after the needs of the requesting spouse and the ability of the paying spouse to pay are examined.
They then factor in adjustments for tax consequences and child support. Now, the court can return what they believe to be an equitable amount of temporary support. The marketable skills of the requesting spouse and the current job market for the spouse’s skill set will be reviewed. The court will additionally think about the time and expense the spouse requesting spousal support might need to get education or training for employment.
Some Interesting California Spousal Support Facts
Some of the facts connected to California Spousal Support include:
- The paying spouse can retire at age 65 in California state, and cannot be obligated to work to sustain support payments. If a paying spouse is forced into early retirement due to a health issue or other circumstance outside his or her control, this can also result in an end to spousal support payments.
- If the paying spouse gets a big pay raise after the divorce, it won’t be retroactively considered for awarding additional spousal support.
- If the paying spouse is impacted by a large reduction in income, due to involuntary termination or a health problem, spousal support can be either lowered or terminated.
- If the paying spouse runs his or her own enterprise, and the business earnings significantly decrease, the support obligations can be reduced.
- Unless the amount of spousal support paid comes with an annual “cap,” then in some cases, regular bonuses or overtime income can be factored into the amount of spousal support.
- Bankruptcy is not likely to end up in the paying spouse having his or her spousal support obligations ended.
- Spousal support payments are tax deductible for the paying spouse, while the receiving spouse is required to pay taxes on it.
- If a person who is receiving spousal support resides with a new romantic partner, then the paying spouse might be able to petition the court to reduce or totally eliminate the support.
Spousal support could very well be the heaviest financial burden a spouse can incur during a divorce. It is critical that both spouses be proactive to make certain that spousal support is fair and equitable. The best way to accomplish this is to discuss the issue with your California divorce attorney. It is your attorney’s job to make sure that you receive or pay a fair amount of spousal support, and your divorce attorney is the very best individual to look out for your rights and your future.