Factors Affecting Spousal Support

By November 18, 2014Family Law Blog

Factors Affecting Spousal Support in California

Anyone who may be going through a divorce in California will probably have some questions as to factors affecting spousal support or ‘alimony’. These questions will likely include:

  • How much will I have to pay?
  • How long will I have to pay?
  • How is spousal support calculated?

These questions are very common! It is important to understand the laws in California dictate that spousal support should be calculated based on very specific factors. The court possesses a genuine deal of discretion when it comes to deciding alimony, and there are a number of factors affecting spousal support the court will consider.  Your attorney will be a crucial element in developing and presenting detailed evidence regarding each factor in the court’s decision.

What Are the Factors Affecting Spousal Support Calculation? 

The amount of spousal support an individual can expect to get will depend on various important elements. However, in California, spousal support is typically calculated with consideration of the following circumstances:

  1. The marketable skills of the party that is requesting to receive spousal support, as well as the time and expenses required for the supported party to achieve education or retraining required for them to gain employment.
  2. The extent to which the supported party’s future or present capacity for earning may be impaired by unemployment due to time that must be devoted to domestic duties (such as looking after children).
  3. The duration of the marriage and the needs of each party according to the standards of living they had grown used to as well as the health and age of the partners.
  4. Any documented history or evidence of domestic violence between parties, including emotional distress, or physical violence, as well as the criminal convictions of either spouse.
  5. The balance of hardships to both parties within the marriage, as well as the immediate tax consequences that they may experience.
  6. The assets and obligations of each party within the marriage, as well as their separate properties, and the ability of the party being asked for support to pay that support, in regards to their unearned and earned income, earning capacity, and assets.

The California court also retains the right to consider any other factors that they may deem to be important within a case of spousal support.  These factors are listed under California Family Code Section 4320, every support order will be subject to a 4320 analysis in order to determine the appropriate amount and duration of a spousal support award.

How Is Spousal Support Calculated? 

Initially when making spousal support orders, the court will impute the income and any deductible expenses into a calculator to determine what a guideline calculation will be.  The court can take factors into consideration that would warrant deviating from guideline support.  If the court is also required to determine an appropriate permanent support amount, the court will do a thorough analysis of the 4320 factors to determine a figure that allows the parties to maintain the marital status of living.  Spousal support is not a given in every case, it has to be warranted.

How Long Spousal Support will Last?

The length of a spousal support order will differ from one case to the next, however, a general rule in California is spousal support should last at least half length of the marriage as long as that marriage was no more than ten years. However, in marriages that lasted longer than ten years, the court may not set any duration for alimony whatsoever.  This means the party paying the support will be expected to prove spousal support is not needed some point in the future by showing a change of circumstance.  The support duration could last indefinitely depending on the facts of your case.

Although the duration of any period of spousal support will be left to the discretion of the California court to decide most judges do not favor a case for ‘lifetime’ support. For further help regarding the circumstances of spousal support in your divorce, you will usually benefit from speaking to an experienced family lawyer.

Minella Law Group Can Help!

If you are need assistance with a spousal support order, it is important to have an experienced spousal support order attorney by your side.  Minella Law Group is experienced in dealing with spousal support orders and can give you immediate hands on representation that you need.  For more information or to schedule a no cost consultation, click the button below or call us at (619) 289-2748.  We look forward to helping you!