Section 4300 of the California Family Code lists the laws that the court looks at for spousal support. Spousal support is not required, but the court has the power to award it if it deems necessary. Spouses can arrange spousal support themselves. Spousal support is awarded by the court to one spouse, during a divorce or legal separation action, to support that party in the manner to which they were accustomed during the marriage. Spousal support may be awarded against the party with the highest income.
Temporary spousal support.
During divorce, maintenance may be temporary – ‘pendente lite’. The Latin term means “pending litigation.” Although this is temporary, it is temporary with respect to the duration of your case. Until your final order is made, this pendente lite will govern your spousal support. Because life has unpredictable events, even these orders can be modified.
How does the judge determine how much I receive?
When determining final orders, the court uses §4320, referred to as the 4320 Factors. As a reminder, this is not legal advice, but rather an informational tool to help you understand the judge’s opinion. There are always many factors at play in the law. If it were clear in black and white, you wouldn’t be reading this page to explore your legal options. When determining spousal support, the judge will consider many factors, including those not listed in the code. This is stated in the last line labeled (n) of section 4320.
4320 Common factors.
Some common factors you may want to consider that the judge uses are how much money each party makes or how each party pleads for spousal support. But, what may not be as widely known is that the judge will also look at how long the marriage lasted, how capable the requesting party is of earning their income, the standard of living of the paying parties, and more.
Why does the court order spousal support, commonly known as alimony?
Spousal support is meant to ensure that a person’s standard of living does not stop. As with child support Generally, the judge will make orders that are reasonable and just to maintain the status quo of life situations. A spousal support order is intended to try to maintain the standard of living as close to standard as possible during the marriage. Contrary to belief, spousal support is not a punishment for getting divorced. It is a guarantee of living and caring for the previous spouse while they become financially independent.
Only a man pays spousal support, right?
It is important to note that spousal support can be ordered for any gender spouse, in any marriage. Don’t be convinced that only a man should pay for his ex-wife. Or that because two women are married, each one leaves without paying anything. A spouse with a significantly lower financial situation will be more likely to receive support.
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