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Divorce Help: Am I Entitled to Spousal Support?

When dissolving a marriage or domestic partnership, the issue of spousal support or alimony is often a primary concern of the parties.  In general, there are two types of alimony that can be awarded: permanent support, which deals with the support to be received at the conclusion of the divorce going forward, and temporary support, designed to maintain the status quo (as much as possible) during the divorce

Temporary Spousal Support
A spouse may have the right to receive temporary support during the dissolution process for the purpose of assisting that spouse with their financial obligations.  Immediately obtaining a temporary spousal support order may be necessary to secure financial security for a spouse who was dependent on the income of the other party.  Calculations of temporary spousal support are generally based upon the needs of the supported party and the ability of the supporting party to pay.  Prior to a judgment for dissolution, calculations for temporary spousal support are similar to calculations for child support and use a judicially recognized “guideline” calculated by a program.

Permanent Spousal Support
Permanent spousal support, or support ordered after a judgment for dissolution has been entered, is calculated by a careful consideration of a long list of factors under Family Code section 4320.  Such factors include the respective incomes of each spouse, the length of the marriage, ability of a party to pay, the standard of living during the marriage, the assets and debts of each party and whether there has been any domestic violence.  Permanent spousal support is generally payable for duration of half the length of the marriage, except in cases of a marriage of a long duration, or over 10 years, where the court may reserve jurisdiction over the termination of spousal support.  When calculating permanent spousal support it is important to evaluate the specific factors of the Family Code and also to consider the unique facts applicable to the individual’s case.  For example, the supported spouse may require retraining or education, one of the parties may have paid for one spouse to go to school and obtain additional professional skills, the supported spouse may previously had job skills and is that supported spousal maximizing their earning potential.

Modifications for Support Order
Unlike property division orders, an order for spousal support may be modified upon a determination of necessity.  On motion for modification of spousal support, a judge will consider changes in circumstances, such as unemployment or disability.

When you are going through a dissolution that involves temporary spousal support and permanent spousal support in particular it is important to have an experienced family law attorney because a negative result may not be modifiable and may a long-term financial impact.

Legal updates brought to you by the experienced attorneys of the Orange and RiversideCounty Family Law firm of Don Ho, LLP.

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