Spousal Support

Spousal Support is when a couple legally separates or divorces and the court orders a spouse or domestic partner to pay the other partner a certain amount of monetary support each month. Spousal support is often ordered during the divorce proceeding or legal separation and is also referred to as alimony. The goal of spousal or partner support is that the spouse or partner that receives the support can support themselves within a reasonable period of time. Support is typically mirrored into the length of the marriage or domestic partnership.

When a Judge makes an order for spousal support he or she takes into consideration what each spouse or partner can earn to keep a standard of living close to what they each had during the marriage or partnership.

There are two different kinds of support:

  • Temporary Spousal Support or Temporary Partners Support – A Spouse or Partner can ask for support to be paid while the divorce or legal separation is happening.
  • Permanent Spousal or Partner Support – The judge orders support as part of the final divorce or separation judgment.

To obtain Spousal Support the judge considers:

  • Marketable skills of the spouse or partner getting support;
  • Job market for those skills;
  • Time and expense the spouse or partner who gets support will need to get the education or training to develop more marketable skills or to get a job;
  • Extent that the earning capacity (the ability to earn income) of the spouse or partner who gets support was impaired by periods of unemployment during the marriage/partnership when he or she was devoted to domestic duties.

References: http://www.courts.ca.gov/1038.htm