Southern California Family Law Blog

The difficulties of getting a divorce seem endless. Not only do parties of a divorce have to deal with the emotional trauma of the procedure, they also have to go through an intense legal process to finalize the divorce. California is a no-fault divorce jurisdiction, which means that fault may not be taken into account when determining the outcomes of a divorce – including distribution of marital property and spousal support orders. However, the exception to this rule comes in to play when domestic violence was present in the marriage. This can have a significant impact on the outcome of your spousal support order.

What Factors Does the Court Consider When Making a Spousal Support Order?

spousal support domestic violence

In ordering spousal support under this part, California Family Code Section 4320 spells out the factors that the court must consider when deciding to award spousal support. The factors are as follows:

  • The earning capacity of each party, including the marketable skills of the supported party, the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire more marketable skills or employment
  • The extent to which the earning capacity of each party will be able to maintain the standard of living that was established during the marriage
  • The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party
  • The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living
  •  The needs of each party based on the standard of living that was established during the marriage
  • The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party
  •  The age and health of the parties
  • The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party
  • The balance of the hardships to each party
  • The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. (Except in the case of a marriage of long-term marriage, which is a marriage lasting more than ten (10) years).
  • The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award
  • Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence between the parties or perpetrated by either party against either party’s child

Of course, the court also has the discretion to consider any other factors the court determines are just and equitable. Additionally, the court has the discretion to order support for a greater or lesser length of time, based on any of the other factors listed in this sections 4320 and 4336 of the California Family Code.

How Exactly Does Evidence of Domestic Violence Factor In When Awarding Spousal Support?

When making an award for permanent spousal support, the trial court is required to consider and weigh the factors listed in section 4320 of the Family Code to the extent that they are related to the case.

Temporary spousal support, on the other hand, is subject to the trial court’s broad discretion and the trial court may order any amount based on the party’s need and the other party’s ability to pay.

Section 4320(i) of the Family Code directs the trial court to consider a history of domestic violence between the parties, including consideration of emotional distress resulting from documented domestic violence against the supported party.[1] This section also creates a rebuttable presumption against awarding support to an abusive spouse. This means that the court will presume that the abusive spouse should not get a spousal support award unless that spouse rebuts the presumption by providing the court with convincing evidence. The code further states that the criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award.

Call Wallin & Klarich Today

At Wallin & Klarich, we understand how difficult it can be to go through a divorce. We also know the difficulty of dealing with a domestic violence claim. It is important that you understand how domestic violence in your marriage can affect the outcome of your divorce or your spousal support order.  We recommend that you seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney immediately. Our knowledgeable attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully helping our clients with divorces that arise out of domestic violence. Let us help you today.

With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks, our knowledgeable attorneys are available to help you no matter where you are located.

Call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.


[1] Cal. Fam. Code § 4320

How To Change The Venue Of Your Family Law Case (Family Law Code 7845)

One of the most stressful things that a person can go through is a lawsuit. What makes the process even more painful is dealing with a lawsuit surrounding a family law issue. Whether you are going through a divorce, child custody or child support battle, it is important to know how you can change the location of the court in which your case is heard. A “venue,…

Continue Reading.......

How to Request a Default Judgment in Your Divorce Case

When you file a lawsuit in any civil court case the opposing party must respond to your demands. A divorce is no different. If you file a petition for dissolution of marriage (also known as divorce) your spouse has 30 days from the date of which he/she has been served divorce papers in order to file a response.1

The same is true for paternity cases. When the parent…

Continue Reading.......

8 Smartphone Apps that May Help With You Get Through Your Divorce

Divorce can be the most challenging time of your life. If you are going through a divorce, you may be dealing with many difficulties relating to the causes of the divorce or the effects of your divorce proceedings. If you are divorcing your partner with which you have children, you may have a difficult time arranging schedules for child custody or visitation.…

Continue Reading.......

“Modern Family” Act Brings Changes to the Rights of Gay Parents

As our society transforms, our laws often change with it. In recent years, there has been a movement to legalize gay marriage. The movement has prompted change in laws governing marriage all over the country, specifically in California. Lawmakers have increasingly been considering these changes and how the changes will affect families.

Some proposed an…

Continue Reading.......

Divorced Parents: Precautions to Take Before Allowing Your Child to Travel Internationally with Your Former Spouse

International travel has become more common today than ever before. This has many benefits of course, such as the ease of vacationing abroad, overseas business trips, or traveling internationally to visit friends and family. This may all seem exciting to many; however, if you are a divorced parent whose child is traveling abroad, this could be your worst n…

Continue Reading.......

Will My Child Be Allowed to Testify at My Custody Hearing?

Custody battles can have a life-changing impact on families. When you are in a custody battle, it is important to know the rights of your child and to understand how your child’s voice may be heard throughout the process.

General Child Testimony Rules in Custody Battles

If your child wishes to testify at your custody hearing as to his or her custody preferen…

Continue Reading.......

What is a Gavron Warning and How Does it Affect My Spousal Support?

Divorce can impact  your entire life. Divorce often forces both  parties of the marriage to divide the property that was acquired during the course of their marriage (also known as  community property). Not only are former spouses often compelled to determine how to divide their community property, but  one party  is often required to support …
Continue Reading.......