Apart from child custody and visitation rights, the most contentious issue in any divorce is often that of alimony or spousal support. Even in the rare case where the division of assets, homes, cars, businesses, etc. can be worked out amicably and agreed upon by both parties, when it comes to the issue of spousal support, that is quite often a deal breaker. If the parties cannot agree, the determination of who gets spousal support and how much will be worked out by the courts. Following is some basic information about how spousal support is determined in the State of California.
Determination of Spousal Support
Despite general public perception, as a result of some very high profile cases in the State of California, spousal support is not an automatic guarantee. There are a number of different conditions which are taken into account in determining spousal support during a divorce proceeding. Just because one spouse has a lot of money does not necessarily mean that the other spouse will be awarded alimony or spousal support payments.
Duration of the Marriage
One of the prime considerations in awarding spousal support is the duration of the marriage. If a couple was only married for six months, for instance, it is clearly not a significant enough duration of time to have critically impacted either spouse’s ability to earn a living, career aspects, standard of living or other considerations. Spousal support awards after only six months of marriage are rare.
Maintaining a Standard of Living
The court will consider the standard of living maintained by the divorcing couple during the marriage, and whether either or both partners has the earning capacity to maintain this standard of living after the divorce. If one of the partners is no longer as marketable, due to having left the job market for a significant period of time to raise children, for instance, this will also be taken into consideration. Providing the supporting partner has the economic ability to do so, the court will make an award sufficient to maintain the supported partner’s standard of living for a definitive period of time.
The court will also take into consideration, however, any economic setbacks and other hardships the supporting partner may have had, subsequent to the failure of the marriage. The court will not force the supporting partner to pay spousal support to maintain a standard of living that is not economically viable. In such cases, both partners will have to adapt to a lower standard of living.
Competent Legal Representation
In any case where spousal support is in question, it is important to retain competent legal counsel to protect your rights in the divorce. Once a divorce is final, a spousal support award is very difficult to get changed. Over the lifetime of the award, a seemingly small difference in the amount can add up to many thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Seek the very best divorce attorney you can afford; consider it an investment in your future! Find An Orange County Or Irvine Divorce Lawyer Here