Spousal Support Issues

Spousal support in the state of California can be a very complicated matter and is included in only 10 to 15% of divorce or separation cases. Where courts do grant spousal support, however, it is often the largest financial obligation in a divorce.

Initially the court may use a computer program or guidelines to award temporary support of up to 40% of the obligated spouse’s net monthly income, reduced by one-half of the receiving spouse’s net monthly income. It may not rely on such formulas, however, in making its final determination of whether spousal support is appropriate and, if it is, in what amount.

The court must consider a number of issues, including —

  • The marketable skills of the supported party, the job market, expenses required to gain the appropriate skills, etc.
  • The extent to which the supported party did not work during the marriage in order to undertake domestic duties
  • The supported party’s contribution to the supporting party’s education, training or career
  • The ability of the supporting party to pay
  • What each party requires to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage
  • The assets and debts of each party
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The ability of the supported party to care for children while employed
  • The age and health of the parties
  • Any documented history of domestic violence in the marriage
  • The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party
  • The balance of the hardships to each party

With respect to the duration of spousal support, courts presume spousal support in marriages of less than 10 years will last for approximately half the length of the marriage (as a “general rule”). In longer marriages, courts have significant discretion in determining its duration, although they generally frown on lifelong support. Instead, courts approach such support as a way to bridge the gap between married and single life.

Given the court’s level of discretion on this issue, the assistance of legal counsel like Christine McClane Tesi is essential. Ms. Tesi has the experience required to handle these types of cases and help you obtain a fair and reasonable outcome. Whether you need someone to fight for the support you deserve, or help you defend against an unfair claim, Ms. Tesi will devise the best strategy available to protect your rights. Call today to schedule a consultation or use our Contact page to email us.

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