Regardless of the length of your marriage, spousal support will be an issue in any divorce or legal separation. Moreover, temporary spousal support will be an issue if one spouse has a need for support from the other spouse in order to pay their monthly expenses and continue to maintain the standard of living he or she had during the marriage. At Wallin & Klarich, our spousal support attorneys can help you get a fair spousal support order in your divorce or legal separation.
What is Temporary Spousal Support under Family Code Section 3600?
Under Family Code section 3600, the court can order a spouse “to pay any amount that is necessary” for temporary support based on the supported party’s need and the supporting party’s ability to pay.
Although many judges set a temporary spousal support amount based on a statutory guideline which calculates what temporary support will be, it is important to note that the court has the discretion to not use the amount calculated and order a temporary spousal support that is more or less than the guideline amount.
Generally, the purpose of temporary spousal support orders is to “maintain the living conditions and standards of the parties in as close to the status quo position as possible pending trial and the division of their assets and obligations…The court is not restricted by any set of statutory guideline in fixing a temporary spousal support amount” (Irmo Wittgrove (2004) 120 Cal.App.4th 1317, 1327). The temporary spousal support amount can be determined by what the supported spouse needs in order to maintain the standard of living before the two spouses separated.
What Does “Standard of Living” Mean?
In a recent temporary spousal support case, a trial court ordered guideline spousal support even though that amount exceeded the average monthly expenses in the year before the two spouses separated. In determining that guideline was a sufficient amount to meet the supported wife’s needs and that the paying husband had the ability to pay, the court determined that the expenses for the year before the spouses separated did not accurately reflect the marital standard of living and what the actual average monthly expenses were. The court looked at the marital standard of living throughout the entire marriage and did not limit the standard of living to one year (Irmo Fry, Unpublished opinion of District 6 [April 11, 2013]).
The lesson to be learned from the above referenced case is that the court must focus on what amount is necessary to meet the needs of the supported party, not just the amount that is calculated by the statutory guideline.
Call Wallin & Klarich Today
If you are currently going through a divorce or legal separation, or have a pending hearing on the issue of temporary spousal support, it is important that you get the best legal representation. Our spousal support attorneys can analyze your case and provide you with a good idea as to what the temporary spousal support amount will be. We have over 30 years of experience earning clients the best outcome in their spousal support cases and other family law issues.
Call us at (888) 749-7428. We will be there when you call.