Spousal Support/Alimony

If you are getting a divorce in California, you want to know how much spousal support you may be entitled to or how much you may have to pay and for how long.

The Court has a great deal of discretion in ordering spousal support and very different results may occur depending on how you present your case. Savvy and effective representation is essential.

Every divorce case is different and presents a unique set of facts that will impact spousal support. Uncovering the facts that best support your position and effectively communicating those facts to your spouse and/or the Court is critical in protecting your best interests.

Protect your rights, contact me at 510-306-1055 to discuss the spousal support issues in your case.

There are two kinds of spousal support, temporary and long term support.

Temporary spousal support or guideline support, is ordered while your divorce is pending. The basic goal of temporary support is to maintain the financial status quo of the parties and in particular the supported party during the divorce.

Most court's will use a computer program to calculate the amount of temporary support which, like in child support, starts with the amount of money both spouses make combined with other financial factors.

However, the Court has a huge amount of discretionary leeway in deviating from the guideline calculation for temporary support. You can substantially change the outcome by effectively presenting your best case to the judge or commissioner.

Long term support is determined at the end of your divorce case and presents even more opportunity for the Court to exercise discretion in ordering support. Unlike for temporary support, the Court can NOT use the computer calculation to determine the amount of long term spousal support or the amount of time it will be paid.

The judge is required to consider all of the factors set out in Family Code §4320 to determine the amount and length of support. The 4320 factors are listed below.

Each of these factors is an area where savvy and effective representation can make a substantial difference in the outcome of your spousal support case.

· The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into account all of the following:

· The marketable skills of the supported party; the job market for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire other, more marketable skills or employment.

· The extent to which the supported party's present or future earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment that were incurred during the marriage to permit the supported party to devote time to domestic duties.

· The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party.

· The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party's earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living.

· The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage.

· The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party.

· The duration of the marriage.

· The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party.

· The age and health of the parties.

· Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, between the parties or perpetrated by either party against either party's child, including, but not limited to, consideration of emotional distress resulting from domestic violence perpetrated against the supported party by the supporting party, and consideration of any history of violence against the supporting party by the supported party.

· The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party.

· The balance of the hardships to each party.

· The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. Except in the case of a marriage of long duration as described in Section 4336, a "reasonable period of time" for purposes of this section generally shall be one-half the length of the marriage. However, nothing in this section is intended to limit the court's discretion to order support for a greater or lesser length of time, based on any of the other factors listed in this section, Section 4336, and the circumstances of the parties.

· The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award in accordance with Section 4324.5 or 4325.

· Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.