Santa Cruz Divorce & Family Law Attorney

Spousal Support / Alimony

When a Judge considers how to evaluate spousal support in a divorce, or whether to modify spousal support already ordered, there are multiple factors that are weighed in the decision.  Initially, in a divorce one spouse will typically request temporary spousal support until permanent spousal support can be ordered.  Temporary support is calculated using a software program and can depend how numbers are entered into the program.  This is usually referred to as “guideline” support.   Thus, its important your Divorce & Family Law attorney knows the effect of how entering information in the program will affect support figures.  

Permanent spousal support is determined by evaluating fourteen factors that are enumerated in California Family Code  section 4320.  The Court must analyze and weigh the factors, but ultimately has wide discretion to order spousal support considering any factors it determines are just and equitable.  The factors include: the standard of living during the marriage; earning capacity of the supported party; time devoted time to domestic duties in lieu of developing a career that impairs earning capacity; ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support; obligations and assets of each party; duration of the marriage; ability of supported party to be gainfully employed without impairing the interests of dependent children; the age and health of the parties; history of domestic violence; tax consequences; balancing hardships that will be experienced by each party; a general goal of the supported party to become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time, except in marriages of long duration; and other factors the court determines are relevant in the interest of justice and fairness.   

Above are general statements regarding the law.  There are, of course, other nuances in determining spousal support that are dependent upon the factual circumstances of each case. Courts are influenced by previous case law in such circumstances and its important your Divorce & Family Law attorney is up-to-date on the law.   

Mr. Stinson has access to the program courts use to calculate temporary spousal support and keeps abreast of current developments in the law that influence spousal support determinations in fact specific circumstances.  Schedule a consultation with Mr. Stinson if you have questions regarding spousal support in your case.

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