spousal support

What Is Spousal Support in California?

Navigating the complicated terrain of divorce can be an emotionally daunting process. Amid the restructuring of lives and the division of assets, one crucial aspect that requires a thorough understanding and careful consideration is spousal support. That is why, in the post below, we will review in detail what spousal support is in California and what legal options you have regarding it.

What Is Spousal Support?

Spousal support, sometimes referred to as alimony, is a legal obligation in California. In this arrangement, one spouse provides financial assistance to the other during or after a legal separation or a divorce. The goal of this support is to assist the lower-earning spouse in maintaining their standard of living until they can support themselves. However, determining proper spousal support can be challenging, as it is influenced by a variety of unique factors in each case.

Who Pays Spousal Support?

In California, spousal support is gender-neutral, meaning either spouse can request support. However, if a spouse needs financial assistance and the other spouse is able to offer it, the judge will usually order the higher-earning spouse to pay alimony to the lower-earning spouse, regardless of their gender.

Different Types of Spousal Support

There are two types of spousal support in California. They include the following:

Temporary Spousal Support

During a divorce, a judge can order temporary spousal support to help with one spouse’s financial stability until the divorce process is complete. Temporary spousal support is usually awarded when one spouse requires monetary assistance, and the other has the means to provide it. In California, temporary spousal support is restricted in cases involving domestic violence to ensure the welfare of the affected spouse. This support typically lasts until the divorce is completed, but the court can adjust the support if there is reason for it. 

Long-Term Spousal Support

Long-term spousal support, also called rehabilitative alimony, aims to help the receiving spouse obtain training, education, and work experience to become self-supporting. Under this arrangement, a judge may order a spouse to pay support to the other for a specific amount of time and for an amount deemed reasonable and fair according to the facts of the case. The goal is to allow the recipient spouse to adapt and acquire the skills necessary to achieve self-sufficiency.

In addition, unlike temporary support, California does not use a specific calculator to determine long-term spousal support. Rather, the court considers several factors before coming to a decision. These factors include the following:

  • Standard of living
  • Earning capacity
  • Self-sufficiency
  • An ability to pay the other spouse
  • Health and age of each spouse
  • Assets and debts of each spouse
  • The marriage duration
  • Contribution to a spouse’s education or professional license
  • A history of domestic violence
  • Tax consequences
  • Balancing the hardships of each spouse
  • Additional factors relevant to the case

Contact Herrera Clifton Hess Today To Learn More About Spousal Support in California

At Herrera Clifton Hess, our experienced family law attorneys have a reputation for providing quality representation in family law matters. We strive to achieve favorable outcomes for our clients in cases involving divorce, child support, child custody, mediation, and other family law issues while staying committed to putting their needs first. Whether you are dealing with an uncontested or contested divorce, have children to consider, or need modifications to a completed divorce agreement, our attorneys are here to help you.

If you want further information about spousal support or are considering filing for divorce in California but want to know more about the process, contact Herrera Clifton Hess today and speak with a member of our legal team.