3 Factors California Courts Consider When Determining Spousal Support

Out of all of the undesirable effects a divorce may have on a person’s life, its financial impact may be not only one of the most challenging but also one of the most immediately perceived. For example, according to one source, some individuals may need an income increase of as much as 30% in order to maintain the same lifestyle and standard of living after the divorce. Additionally, statistics show that 20% of divorcing women fall into poverty as a result of a divorce while divorcing men experience a drop in their standard of living of up to 40%.

California family law both recognizes that divorce may produce financial hardship and takes measures to prevent it. Spousal support – called partner support in the case of divorcing domestic partners – refers to a certain amount of money one spouse or domestic partner is ordered by the court to pay the other for a certain time. In this article, we will provide a brief overview of 3 factors California courts consider when determining spousal support.

When calculating the amount of spousal support at the end of a divorce or separation case, a judge won’t use a fixed formula. Rather, the exact amount will be  influenced by a number of factors, the most important of which include:

  1. Length of marriage – this allows a judge to decide for how long one spouse should be paying spousal support to the other. California family law states that the duration of spousal support should allow the spouse receiving it to support him- or herself within a reasonable amount of time. It is usually accepted that the reasonable amount of time is half the time the marital relationship lasted. However, if the marriage endured for more than 10 years, the judge isn’t obligated to set an end date to spousal support
  2. Standard of living during the marriage – defined simply as a lifestyle the spouses enjoyed when married.
  3. Earning capacity of each of the spouses – in order to be able to maintain previously enjoyed lifestyle and standard of living, a person needs a certain amount of money. A judge will take into consideration the earning capacity of the spouse who is going to receive spousal support to assess if they will need additional funds to keep the previous standard of living. The earning capacity takes into account a number of factors such as a person’s history and current employment, their marketable skills, the job market for those skills as well as their age and health.

Let Carroll Law Office Make a Strong Case for Your Spousal Support

As mentioned, spousal support isn’t ordered automatically. In fact, it is up to the sole discretion of the judge whether you will be given spousal support at the end of your divorce case or not. That’s why you need someone to represent your financial interests before the court in order to ensure a fair and satisfactory amount of spousal support that will help you cover your financial needs after your divorce. If you would like to know how exactly one of our attorneys can help you obtain spousal support, feel free to reach out to us and schedule a free consultation.