Divorce Family Law Spousal Support

How Do Courts Award Spousal Support?

Spousal support, also called alimony, is the payments that one spouse makes to another spouse after a divorce in order to maintain the former spouse’s standard of living. But how is spousal support determined when it comes to who pays who and how much?

California Law Regarding Spousal Support

California law dictates that a court determines spousal support awards after carefully reviewing various factors, including: the length of the marriage, the income of each spouse, the age of each spouse, the standard of living during the marriage, and the assets that will be available to each party once the divorce agreement is finalized. A court may also consider other factors it deems fit.

How Long Does Spousal Support Last?

A court will determine how long the spousal support payments be made. Often times this is for a set period time, but also dependent on if the spouse receiving the support marries or has a change in their financial standing (as the result of a job or higher pay). The court determines the duration of spousal support by following certain general equitable principals and guidelines that have been set forth and determined by common law case histories. While circumstances vary, a court rarely awards “lifetime support.”

General Rule of Thumb:  Spousal support payments will be made for half the length of a less than 10 year-long marriage.

Spousal Support Not Always Awarded to Woman

There are some noted changes in how courts award spousal support. Since the majority of married women work outside of home now, spousal support is not always awarded to women (as was the trend years ago). Therefore, the court will usually require the higher earner, either husband or wife, to assist the lower earner with maintaining the standard of living, at least for a period of time.

Source: CA Divorce, How Spousal Support is Decided in California, 2014

Divorce Law LA, Esq.

Divorce Law LA

33 S. Catalina Ave. Ste. 202

Pasadena, Ca. 91106

(626) 478-3550