Published on:

How Are Spousal Support Payments Calculated in a California Divorce

spousal support payments, spousal supportHow are spousal support payments calculated in a California divorce? Ending a marriage can affect almost every aspect of your life, including your financial stability. In many relationships, one party chooses to forgo education or pursuing a career in order to support the other person’s ambitions. Even if this is not the case, some couples fall into “earner” and “caretaker” roles, particularly when there are children involved. This may result in significant economic inequality between the parties to a marriage, and may leave one spouse without any income absent judicial intervention.

Fortunately for some who people seeking a divorce, California law allows a court to order spousal support payments (or partner support payments, in the case of a domestic partnership) in order to provide for the financial needs of the party unable to support themselves financially. Spousal support payments can significantly impact both parties: the one ordered to pay and one receiving spousal support payments. Consequently, it is important for anyone involved in a divorce or other legal proceeding in which spousal support is at issue to discuss their case with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

How Are Spousal Support Payments Awarded?

Spousal support is sometimes awarded as part of the disposition of divorce, separation, or annulment proceeding. It can also accompany a domestic violence restraining order. Litigants can request spousal support while a case is pending; this is referred to as “temporary spousal support.” This type of spousal support is generally calculated using a formula discussed in a previous blog entry. The law gives courts significant discretion in choosing whether to award spousal support, as well as how much to award. California Family Code Section 4320 outlines the factors the court may consider, which include:

  • The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage or domestic partnership;
  • The duration of the marriage or domestic partnership;
  • The age and health of both parties to the marriage or domestic partnership;
  • The extent to which requiring one party to work would affect the feasibility of providing child care;
  • Each party’s obligations and assets;
  • The extent to which one party contributed to the education, training, career, or professional licensure of the other party;
  • The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support;
  • Any history of domestic violence between the parties;
  • The tax implications of a spousal support award;
  • Any other factors the court considers just and equitable.

As this list makes clear, the court may consider any factor it deems relevant in determining whether and how much spousal support to award. As a result, it is important for people seeking to obtain or keep from paying spousal support to present as strong a case as possible to the court.  An attorney familiar with California family courts can evaluate your situation and present your case to the court in a way that maximizes your chances of obtaining a favorable result.

Contact a Santa Rosa Family Law Attorney Today to Schedule a Consultation

Any party to a family law proceeding should discuss their situation with an experienced Santa Rosa divorce attorney. To schedule a consultation with one of our family law spousal support lawyers, please call Beck Law P.C. today at (707) 576-7175.

Contact Information