Misconceptions About California Spousal Support
Many couples facing divorce in California have certain false notions ingrained in their minds related to spousal support (alimony) payments under the laws of California. Check out some of the most common misconceptions about spousal support payments below.
# 1: Receiving alimony payments is a compulsory right
You need to realize that it may not be mandatory for your former spouse to pay you alimony while your marriage gets dissolved or during proceedings of legal separation. In fact, the reverse may be true. The final discretion lies with the courts on whether to direct for spousal support or deny it altogether. There should be a cautious consideration and evaluation of the legal factors to assess whether the earning capability of both the involved parties are sufficient to continue with the same standard of living as they had while their marriage was intact. It should be done before a court denies or orders spousal support. Some of the factors that are considered by the court for making a decision are as follows:
- How much contribution was made by the supported party for attaining an education, a career position, a license by the said supporting party or training.
- The degree to which the future or present earning capacity of the supported party is impaired due to the unemployment periods, which were incurred while the marriage was on so that the supported party could spend time to discharge domestic responsibilities.
- The supported party’s marketable skills and the job potential for those skills.
Other factors that the court must consider are as stated in California Family Code section 4320.
#2: A computer program can determine the “permanent” (long-term) spousal support amount to be made
You should know that a computer support program used to determine temporary spousal support and child support such as DissoMaster or Xspouse cannot determine how much alimony payment you should receive long-term, i.e. beyond your divorce. After all, Family Code section 4320 must be considered by the court to ascertain the amount of spousal support. The misconception originates from the knowledge that computer programs, which enable a judge to calculate child support and temporary spousal support has a function for determining, long-term spousal support too.
#3: Spousal supported is assured for life after ten years
Just because you are married for 10 years or more does not guarantee that the other party has to pay you spousal support indefinitely or for life. The spouse receiving support has to make efforts to become self-supporting. A marriage of more than 10 years in California simply means that the court has continuing jurisdiction over the issue of spousal support but the circumstances of each case during the marriage and afterwards play a big role in determining how long spousal support payments may be.
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