Spousal Support Guidelines
When spouses get divorced or legally separated, one spouse may be ordered to make regular spousal support payments to the other in accordance with either a mutual agreement or an order issued by the court. The purpose of spousal support is to prevent the economically dependent spouse from an unfair economic imbalance by providing him or her with a continuing source of income.
When a request for temporary spousal support is made, usually through a Request for Order, the court will look at each party’s monthly income and expenses and input these figures into the same computer program that calculates guideline child support. Thus, the court’s determination of whether to award temporary spousal support will be based in part on a court approved computer program. However, the court does have discretion to order a temporary spousal support order that differs than what the program calculates.
Spousal Support Factors
The court is not mandated to award spousal support in your divorce or legal separation case. Instead, the court has a certain degree of discretion in granting or denying spousal support to a spouse. If the court awards spousal support in your case, the court will determine the amount and duration of your award based on a number of deciding factors.
Under Family Code Section 4320, the court will weigh and consider the following 14 factors in determining whether to award spousal support in your case:
1. The ability to maintain the marital standard of living in light of the parties’ earning capacities:
• If you are the party requesting permanent spousal support, the court will take into account your skills, the job market, the time and expenses required to get you the right education or training, and the possible need to retrain you or educate you. Also, under this factor, the court will consider your earning capacity.
2. Contributions to the other party’s education, training, career position or license:
• The court will take into account if your spouse worked and supported you while you went to school and sought training during the marriage.
3. The supporting party’s ability to pay:
• The court will take into account the supporting party’s earning capacity, earnings and unearned income, assets, and his or her standard of living.
4. The needs of each party in light of the marital standard of living:
• The marital standard of living is the ordinary way of living that the parties established during their marriage.
5. The parties’ assets and debts:
• The court considers not only the parties’ community property, but also the separate property of each party.
6. The duration of the marriage:
• The court will take into account the length of the marriage when determining the period of time support is to be paid.
7. The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without interfering with the interests of the children in that party’s custody:
• If you are requesting support from your spouse, the court will take into account whether you can work without affecting the best interests of your children in order to determine the appropriate amount of spousal support.
8. The age and health of each party.
9. Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence between the parties.
• This documented evidence includes, but is not limited to, the consideration of emotional distress as a result of domestic violence. Such evidence permits the court to place a fault on either party and therefore can adjust support payable to the party is found to have been responsible for the domestic violence during the marriage.
10. The tax consequences of spousal support to each party:
• The court will look at the immediate and specific tax consequences of receiving and paying spousal support.
11. The balance of hardships to each party.
12. The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time.
13. The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse:
• If the abusive spouse is the supported party, this factor allows the court to reduce or terminate spousal support payable to the abusive spouse.
14. Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable:
• This means that any other fact that is helpful and pertinent to the issue of spousal support may be considered by the court.
Request for Separate Property
Additionally, under Family Code Section 4321, if you are seeking to receive spousal support from your spouse’s separate property, the court may deny your request for support if you have your own separate property, or you are able to earn your own livelihood, or there is community property sufficient to give you proper support. Also, the court may deny your request for support if the custody of your children has been awarded to your spouse.
Temporary Spousal Support
Lastly, under Family Code Section 4330, “the court may order a party to pay for the support of the other party an amount, for a period of time, that the court determines is just and reasonable.” In other words, if you are seeking spousal support, you must keep in mind that the court may order you to make reasonable efforts to assist in providing for your support needs.
Orange County Spousal Support Lawyer
Whether the court will award spousal support and the amount of the spousal support will depend in great part on the legal arguments that are presented to the judge by your experienced Orange County spousal support lawyer. To help you negotiate or litigate for the best possible terms, you need the knowledge and expertise of a skilled Wallin & Klarich spousal support attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have been successfully representing clients facing spousal support, divorce and other family law matters for over 30 years. With offices located in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Victorville, West Covina, Sherman Oaks, Torrance and Ventura , there is a Wallin & Klarich attorney available wherever you happen to live. Call us today at (888) 749-7428. We will be there when you call.