What Is Spousal Support?

The phrase ‘spousal support’ basically refers to alimony. It is a fixed payment given to a spouse on a monthly basis after a divorce has been finalized. Why is spousal support necessary? Spousal support helps ensure that the dependent spouse is in a position to enjoy a decent quality of life, one that they have gotten used to during the period of their marriage.

Calculation Of Spousal Support In California

As mentioned earlier, the court orders for spousal support typically instruct one spouse to make a fixed monthly payment to the other for a certain period of time. The time period for spousal support is usually determined on the basis of the duration of which the couple was married and some other relevant factors. An experienced divorce attorney can guide couples with regards to calculation of the alimony money.

When the court is determining alimony, it would usually consider the income of the spouse who has received higher earnings as income in the last 12 months. Spousal support is meant for preserving the existing lifestyle and financial situation of a spouse as best as possible.

As far as the calculation of spousal support in California is concerned, the Solano Superior Courts follow the “Santa Clara Guideline” for temporary spousal support. LA, Ventura and Santa Barbara also follow the same guideline. The “Alameda Guideline” formula is followed by the Contra Costa and Alameda counties. According to the guideline, the support paid by a spouse should be approximately 40 percent of their total monthly income. This will be divided by half of the total monthly income earned by the receiving partner. In cases where child support is involved, the calculation of spousal support is done after the calculation of child support.

Time Duration For Spousal Support In California

Even though spousal support is offered for helping the lower income earning spouse, there are various ways in which it can be misused. Also, there is a common misconception regarding the permanency of spousal support. For those who are involved in a divorce litigation including spousal support, it is vital to have all the necessary information regarding issues which will be important in determining the support duration and amount to be paid or received.

In most cases, spousal support is not offered for the entire lifetime of the receiving spouse. The purpose of spousal support is to allow the partner to become independent within a realistic time period. In cases when the marriage lasted for less than 10 years, the court usually considers one-half of the marriage length as a reasonable time period for spousal support. For marriages with a duration that’s less than 10 years, alimony will be paid for half of the length of the time. For instance, if a couple was married for 8 years, then one of the spouses will be offered support for 4 years, that is, half of the marriage duration.

Spousal support works a bit differently for marriages that have lasted over 10 years. In such cases, the spouse providing support may continue to pay alimony to the dependent spouse until the time it is needed. The reason why there is no finite time period for spousal support in long-term marriages is because of the fact that the courts do not have a proper system for determining the same. However, this does not imply that California law is in favor of permanent spousal support.

Shulman Family Law Group

Maya Shulman, Esq.