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Custody & Support Modifications

California State Law and Spousal Support Determinations

Not all marriages last forever. Just ask the nearly 50 percent of people involved in marriages that didn't last. Divorce doesn't need to be a negative thing, merely a mark that a change in a person's life is coming. When a couple decides to divorce, there are many topics that need to be considered. One of those may be spousal support.

Spousal support isn't ordered in every California divorce, but it is involved in many when there is a situation of imbalance between spouses. This means that one spouse gave up certain personal and professional achievements (such as a degree, promotion or other work opportunities) in order to rear the home. Spousal support determinations seek to balance that imbalance by ordering one spouse to pay an amount (once or many times), over a period of time, to correct for that financial imbalance when the divorce puts the disadvantaged spouse in a tough financial position.

Whether spousal support will be awarded depends on a few factors under California law. The age, physical condition and financial condition of the spouses, as well as spouses' earning abilities, are considered. Also, the standard of living during marriage, the higher the standard of living, generally the higher the potential payment. The length of the marriage and the ability of the payer spouse to support himself/herself, also matter in determining amounts awarded for spousal support.

Not all marriages will end in divorce with a spousal support determination as some marriages contain spouses who are equal financially. Some assume that only women are awarded spousal support, which is just not true, men are potential candidates for spousal support. Also, spousal support can be awarded in addition to child support. They are two separate topics in a divorce decree.