California Family Law: Spousal Support

In California, family law spousal support is often ordered when one party has no income or significantly lower income than the other party. Spousal support can be granted on a temporary, permanent or limited time basis. Each case is decided based on the facts and the presentation of evidence of the parties. If a divorcing couple agrees to a particular arrangement, the court in California will generally take that agreement into consideration and honor it as long as it is within the law.

Spousal Support in California

Each state has its own legal guidelines for spousal support cases. When determining spousal support in California, a court will take into consideration the following factors:

  • The length of the marriage or partnership;
  • The needs of each party;
  • Earnings and earning capacity of each party and what each party can afford to pay;
  • Whether having a job would make it too difficult for the custodial spouse to take care of children;
  • The age and health of each party;
  • Debts, assets and property of each party;
  • Whether one spouse or partner helped the other get an education, training, career or professional license;
  • Whether domestic violence was part of the marriage or partnership,
  • Whether one spouse's career was affected by unemployment, taking care of the children or home; and
  • The tax implications of spousal support.

The court will also consider any other factors that are specific and pertinent to your divorce case in coming to a decision about spousal support.

In cases where support is needed during divorce proceedings to help one spouse maintain a household independently and/or care for children from the marriage, the party who needs support can request a temporary support order. The court will consider the factors above and use a formula to determine the amount of award. This is a temporary order that will only last until the end of the divorce proceedings. It can help a party to get through divorce more easily if income is an issue.

Getting Legal Help

If you have further questions about California spousal support law, you should talk with an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can advise you of your likelihood for receiving a support order based on the facts of your divorce case. Spousal support is often granted when a disparity in incomes between divorcing spouses exists. A spousal support award may be ordered to give a payee souse the opportunity to adjust to the changed circumstances presented by divorce.

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