Calculating Spousal Support
To establish permanent spousal support the state will take a number of factors into consideration including: length of marriage, the needs of each spouse and the standard of living that was created and maintained during the marriage, assets, the age of the spouses, and numerous other factors. A divorce attorney will be able to build your case based on your own specific circumstances. A court will hear your case and then, using tremendous discretion, will set the spousal support amount.
Length of Spousal Support
The length of spousal support payment typically lasts for half the length of a less than 10 years long marriage. So, if you’ve been married for six years, spousal support payments will last for three. But for longer marriages, the court usually does not set an alimony duration. Your divorce lawyer will need to prove that you should pay, or receive, the spousal support for the length of time you seek. A court will decide based on the arguments they hear and common law practices.
Permanent or Lifetime Spousal Support
When “Permanent” or “Lifetime” spousal support is awarded, that means support will be paid to the recipient until the death of the one paying, or until the recipient remarries. In some cases, it has been granted by a court that a remarriage does not stop the support.
While “permanent” or “lifetime” support used to be awarded, during the late 1990s, as women became an even stronger in the workforce, this started to be awarded less and less. Courts now rarely ever favor awarding “lifetime support.”
One appellate court stated:
“As recognized by our Supreme Court, the public policy of this state has progressed from one which entitled some women to lifelong alimony as a condition of the marital contract of support, to one that entitles either spouse to post-dissolution support for only so long as is necessary to become self-supporting.”
Source: CA Divorce, How Spousal Support is Decided in California, 2015
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