For how long will I receive spousal support in California?

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2022 | Divorce |

Many California households are dual income. That means that both spouses are working and contribute to the couple’s finances. In some cases, they earn a similar salary and have comparable skills. In others, there is a major difference between how much they earn, their education, work experience and what types of jobs they can get. When the couple divorces, it is common for one to pay spousal support to the other. This can be a topic for disagreement.

From the viewpoint of the person who did not earn as much, they might be worried about how long support will be paid. The paying party might want to limit the duration as much as possible. The recipient may want to know they will receive these payments for the foreseeable future. From the time the decision is made to divorce throughout the process, it is important to be aware of this critical factor to ensure a reasonable amount is paid and it lasts long enough so the person does not need to worry.

Will I receive long-term spousal support in my divorce?

Some might be under the impression that spousal support is paid in every divorce case. It is not. There will be long-term spousal support in certain situations. The court will look at various factors when deciding if there should be long-term support. If it was a long marriage or one side earns much more than the other, there is a greater chance of long-term support.

In the case, the judge has three alternatives with ordering support. They can order a certain amount to be paid to the receiving party. They can order reserve spousal support meaning that there is no immediate order for it to be paid, but it might be paid in the future. Or it can decide not to make an order for spousal support.

One of the key aspects of spousal support is how long the couple was married. The court will want to know how long it will take for the receiving party to support themselves. In marriages where one spouse was a high earner, the other party may not be able to achieve that level of income. For example, if one party was a professional athlete or was high up in the corporate sphere, they will be well compensated in their job. Even if the receiving party is well educated, they may not have the experience and capacity to earn anything close to what the other person did.

The judge will begin with a baseline for duration of marriages. If it was shorter than a decade, the support will last for half of the marital duration. If it was marriage that was longer than a decade, the judge must look at the facts before coming to a determination and do so without preconceived notions.

People might be under the impression that spousal support is simply a matter of calculating a formula. That is part of it, but every case is different. If there is a substantial disparity in the incomes and the divorce is contentious, the supporting party could want a limit for how long they are paying. The other person may have limited options to maintain their lifestyle from the marriage, cannot get the type of employment to do so and, after a long marriage, they want to ensure they can make ends meet.

Tailored guidance is key with high-asset divorces

It might be necessary to have experts assess the finances and educational backgrounds as part of the determination to come to a fair conclusion. Whether it is a relatively simple case where the disagreements are limited or a difficult case where the spouses are far apart, it is important to have experienced and knowledgeable help.

Spouses of business owners, high-earning professionals and others who make large incomes who are considering divorce should consult with those who are well prepared for these types of cases. Calling for advice and assistance can find avenues to address these lingering problems, consider negotiation and go to court if necessary. This is key with spousal support and other areas of family law.



FindLaw Network