Couples going through divorce have many decisions to make. Some of the most mystifying issues seem to be about spousal support. The person who needs the support wants as much as possible for as long as possible. But the person paying the support might want to avoid paying any at all. The following frequently asked questions and the answers that go with them might help take some of the mystery out of this crucial issue.
Spousal support is also sometimes referred to as alimony. In a domestic partnership, it’s called partner support.
Is spousal support always awarded?
No. One or both parties can ask the court for temporary or permanent spousal support. Judges look at several factors before awarding spousal support to either party, including the length of the marriage and the standard of living the couple enjoyed during their marriage.
About how much spousal support can I expect?
The judge will decide how much spousal support to award based on some of the same factors used to decide the award. For example, has one spouse stayed home to take care of the house and kids instead of pursuing a career? That person may lack the marketable job skills needed to get a job that supports their prior standard of living. The court will also consider the paying spouse’s income. In some cases, the paying spouse might be ordered to pay around 40% of their net income after expenses.
The couple also could negotiate spousal support as part of their settlement.
How long do I have to pay my ex-spouse?
Here, the length of the marriage plays a part.
For marriages lasting less than ten years, spousal support payments could continue for about half the length of the marriage.
For marriages that lasted longer than ten years, the judge does not typically set an end date for support payments. This does not mean that payments will never end. The family court judge retains jurisdiction. Also, the paying spouse can ask for payments to end and provide proof that support is no longer needed.
Can only women get support?
No, courts can award spousal support to either spouse. Generally, the courts don’t consider gender when reviewing a request for spousal support.
I can’t get spousal support and child support at the same time, can I?
Yes, you can. Different factors go into calculating child support as opposed to spousal support. California courts use a statewide guideline to decide on child support amounts unrelated to spousal support calculations.
Also, both parents are expected to support their children financially under California child support law.
Whether You Have to Pay Child Support Can Be a Major Question
Taking financial responsibility for your children is important. However, splitting into two households can be expensive. Also, if you do have to pay child support, you want to make sure you pay an appropriate amount.
Talk to an experienced California divorce attorney today. Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce, legal separation, and annulment. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We assist clients along California’s Northern to Southern Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin, San Jose, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.