The public has many misconceptions when it comes to California spousal support. Many people believe that judges automatically award spousal support after the divorce is final to the lowest wage earning spouse based on the marriage’s duration or that judges use standard calculations to set the amount of the final spousal support. The truth is there are few hard and fast rules when it comes to spousal support.
While California family court judges have guidelines they must consider in making a final award of spousal support, judges have broad discretion in setting alimony. The underlying purpose of spousal support is to allow the supported spouse to enjoy roughly the same lifestyle as during the marriage while the spouse works to toward self-sufficiency. There are numerous factors the judge may consider in awarding alimony including:
the supported spouse’s marketable skills;the extent to which the supported spouse contributed to the supporting spouse’s career advancement;the supporting spouse’s ability to pay alimony;the marriage’s duration;each spouse’s assets; andthe relative hardships on each spouse.
Contrary to popular belief, the conduct of the spouses in the marriage has little bearing on the spousal support determination since California is a no fault divorce state. Further, unless the parties agree otherwise, spousal support the judge may always modify spousal support as circumstances warrant.
Entitlement to spousal support is a difficult legal issue and requires a careful review of the facts. If you are seeking spousal support after your divorce or are anticipating having to pay spousal support, you need a lawyer experienced in California family law and familiar with the California courts to assist you. Our firm can represent you whether you need an attorney to litigate your position assertively or prefer a more collaborative approach. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.