Spousal support, or alimony, is the amount of money the court orders the higher wage earning spouse to pay to the other spouse every month. There are two types of spousal support – temporary and permanent.
The purpose of temporary spousal support is to allow the parties to continue to share in the lifestyle they had become accustomed to during the marriage and maintain the status quo until a final divorce settlement is reached. Temporary spousal support is typically based on a formula.
A permanent spousal support order is not based on a formula, but must be based on the various factors contained in Family Code Section 4320. These factors include, but are not limited to the income or ability to earn of the parties, the standard of living, the assets and debts each party will receive in the division of property the length of marriage. If a permanent spousal support order is made, it can have a specific termination date or be ordered to continue indefinitely. In marriages that are less than 10 years in length, the court will usually order spousal support to be for a total time equal to one-half the length of the marriage. In marriage over 10 years, the court may order spousal support to continue until the death of either party, the remarriage of the supported spouse, or further order of the court.
As spousal support is not automatic and the courts have broad discretion to determine the appropriate amount of spousal support as well as the duration of spousal support, you will need an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable in these areas to ensure that the proper factors are presented to the court for consideration to enable you to obtain the best possible result. In cases involving high net worth clients, we often employ the work of forensic accountants and other financial experts to help ensure our client’s financial future is not compromised by an unfair support award. Our divorce attorneys have years of experience dealing with support matters and will ensure that all relevant factors are considered in the calculation of spousal support to try to obtain the most favorable support order possible for you and your family.
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