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When a person files for divorce, either spouse can request spousal support. Spousal support is a “legal obligation on a person to provide financial support to their spouse after marital separation or divorce” (Wikipedia). There are many factors that go into the determination of spousal support. Some of these factors include: length of marriage, length of separation, age of the parties at time of the divorce, relative income of the parties, future financial prospects of the parties, health of the parties, fault in marital breakdown, debts and property, education, domestic violence history, and tax impact of spousal support (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov).
There are 2 basic types of support: Temporary and Permanent. Temporary spousal support is awarded prior to entry of the final judgment. The purpose of temporary support is to maintain the “status quo” of the parties until the judgment. The purpose of the permanent support is to provide financial assistance to one spouse once the community property estate has been divided. A general rule is that spousal support will last for half the length of a marriage, if the marriage was less than ten years in duration. In marriages of more than ten years in duration the Court has increased discretion with regards to the term of the spousal support obligation.
Don't Fall Behind in Your California Spousal Support Payments
Layoffs remain a constant in Santa Clara County and the Silicon Valley. If you have been laid off, or if your unemployment benefits have expired, you now face the reality of having to make support payments that were based on your prior level of income, and you may not be able to afford these payments. Spousal support orders (and child support orders) can only be modified from the date that a motion to modify was filed and cannot be modified as to any obligation that accrued prior to that date.
Ultimately, Family Law judges have wide discretion to fashion a spousal support order that is appropriate to the circumstances of a particular family. As circumstances differ between families, it is important to be apprised of your rights and obligations both with regard to setting an initial spousal support order
If you would like more information, please contact The Law Office of Matthew J. Rudy to schedule a free 1 hour consultation.