What To Know About Spousal Support Under California Law
California state laws mandate that the question of permanent spousal support or alimony must be decided after careful consideration of numerous factors and the state laws give the courts tremendous discretion in setting or deciding the terms of alimony and whether a party is liable to offer a full spousal support and also whether a party demanding it fulfills certain criteria.
Under the alimony laws, courts in California can order the higher earner to pay a sum of money for “maintenance of similar lifestyle to what the other party has been used to during marriage” for a determined period of time. It could be made in periodic installments or the question of support may also be settled in a single lump sum payment, as per the direction of the court. The court may also decide to ask the higher earner to pay a temporary support to the lower earner during the divorce proceedings which is called pendente lite.
How is the spousal support figure calculated?
A court can decide on the duration or amount of spousal support that the higher earner must pay to the lower earner in order to maintain the financial status quo. However, the ultimate aim is to make the recipient self-sufficient and as less dependent as possible. Parents of dependent children can obtain a rough estimate of the spousal support figure along with child support, which is calculated in a strict manner using a support calculator at the California Department of Child Support.
Some of the factors that a court in California would take into account to decide the degree to which a supported spouse has the earning capacity in order to maintain the marital living standard are as follows.
- The marketable skills of the supported spouse and the demand for such skills.
- The time or financial support the spouse may require to educate or train himself or herself to acquire those skills and become employable or to enhance one’s employability.
- The extent to which the domestic duties and obligations during marriage has blunted the spouse’s ability to find suitable employment and thus his or her present or future earning capacities.
Other factors that may also play a dominant role are duration of the marriage, ability of a party who may be the sole custodian of a child, to engage in gainful employment without affecting the interests of the child in any way, the ability of the supporting spouse to pay support and maintain the marital standard of living for themselves and also for the other party, the age of the spouses, documented history of domestic violence, any tax consequences among others.
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