What Are the Laws Regarding Spousal Support and Divorce in California?

By: Justin | Posted: 02nd September 2010

Spousal support or alimony can become a hot topic for many divorcing couples, so going into divorce proceedings with an understanding of the rules governing the process can be quite helpful. While your attorney will explain the details further, a little background knowledge on the subject never hurt and can actually help you understand the process better.

California law explicitly states that "Except upon a court order terminating spousal support or a written agreement of the parties to the contrary, the court retains jurisdiction indefinitely in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the parties where the marriage is of long duration." Cal. Fam. Code ยง4336(a).

California determines Long Duration: Any marriage that is more than 10-years is presumed "lengthy." Although, in certain situations even briefer marriages may be considered "lengthy." The courts have discretion to determine "without the aid of a presumption" that shorter marriages are indeed "lengthy."

In the state of California, spousal support may influence how the couple's property is divided. The family law court will take into consideration several factors involving the ability of each party to maintain the standard of living they enjoyed while married to their ex-spouse. The court will consider the earning capacity of the two parties as well as whether the supported spouse helped to support the other while he or she was getting an education or maintaining their career, and to what extent.

They'll also look at the supporting party's own assets and his or her ability to pay spousal support to their ex-spouse. The court will also take into consideration the assets and the separate property of each party and how long the couple was married.

The age and health of the parties as well as each party's ability to gain employment without interfering with their responsibility to any children in their custody are also factors. Tax considerations as well as other hardships may be taken into consideration as well. Domestic violence towards the supported party will also be considered when determining spousal support.

In the end, if the supported spouse is granted spousal support, it will still be his or her goal to achieve a status of self-supported within reasonable time. If the supported spouse gets remarried, the spousal support order is automatically terminated. What's more, if the supported spouse is found to be co-habitating with a member of the opposite sex and is engaged in a romantic or sexual relationship with that person, the order may be terminated.

And finally, the supporting party has a right to retirement at the age of 65, which may call for a modification or termination of the order. If they retire early, however, and are still able to work and have the opportunity to do so, the order may not be eligible for modification.

It is recommended to discuss your case with an experienced and professional Temecula Spousal Support attorney or to schedule a consultation with a Rancho Cucamonga Divorce Lawyer visit the offices of Diefer Law Group

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Tags: discretion, several factors, background knowledge, hot topic, contrary, duration, hardships, california law, state of california, divorce proceedings, presumption, alimony, proceeding, legal separation, dissolution of marriage, separate property