Even though spousal support is often a contentious matter in divorce proceedings, spouses can benefit from reaching a mutual agreement on the amount if they can manage it.
Understanding how courts make determinations about spousal support can help divorcing spouses make well-informed decisions concerning their legal rights and obligations. Here are some important things to know about spousal support in California.
A party may seek an interim support order
California courts will not grant spouses a divorce decree until six months after the date that one or both of the parties file for divorce. During this waiting period, a court may grant a temporary order for support.
A court will consider several factors in ordering support
There is no one-size-fits-all formula to calculate spousal support. California’s statutory law governing spousal support guides courts to evaluate many different factors to award support fairly and equitably. Judges or magistrates will consider the length of the marriage as well as the age and health of the parties. They will also weigh information about the parties’ actual earnings as well as their potential earning capacity and marketable skills.
Caring for children may affect a support order
Courts award spousal support separately from child support. However, having custody of a child and being responsible for his or her care may bear on the amount of spousal support the law entitles a party to. A judge or magistrate may consider testimony from a party requesting support about whether having to seek new employment could interfere with a dependent child’s interests.