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Divorce Library > California Spousal Support


Spousal Support and Alimony in California Divorce
Spousal support, or alimony, is a financial obligation that the court orders one spouse to pay the other spouse when a marriage dissolves for support each month.
This monthly support obligation is called "spousal support" and allows the spouse to maintain a similar standard of living which they were accustomed to during the marriage. Either parent can request that the amount of spousal support be changed if there is a change in circumstance by either party. Additionally, when spousal support is awarded, the spousal support payments can be enforced by the court. In determining spousal support the court will consider circumstances provided under California Family Code § 4320, which states:

4320. In ordering spousal support under this part, the court shall consider all of the following circumstances:
(a) The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into account all of the following:
(1) The marketable skills of the supported party; the job market for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire other, more marketable skills or employment.
(2) The extent to which the supported party's present or future earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment that were incurred during the marriage to permit the supported party to devote time to domestic duties.
(b) The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party.
(c) The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party's earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living.
(d) The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage.
(e) The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party.
(f) The duration of the marriage.
(g) The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party.
(h) The age and health of the parties.
(i) Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, between the parties, including, but not limited to, consideration of emotional distress resulting from domestic violence perpetrated against the supported party by the supporting party, and consideration of any history of violence against the supporting party by the supported party.
(j) The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party.
(k) The balance of the hardships to each party.
(l) The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. Except in the case of a marriage of long duration as described in Section 4336, a "reasonable period of time" for purposes of this section generally shall be one-half the length of the marriage. However, nothing in this section is intended to limit the court's discretion to order support for a greater or lesser length of time, based on any of the other factors listed in this section, Section 4336, and the circumstances of the parties.
(m) The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award in accordance with Section 4325.
(n) Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.

California Spousal Support & Alimony Links & Resources
Spousal Support Forms & Instructions
How Spousal Support & Partner Support is Calculated
California Courts Spousal Support Self-Help Center

More About Spousal Support in California Divorce
Whether you are the recipient of spousal support or you are ordered to pay spousal support, "spousal support" is an important legal terms that you should become familiar with.
Having a general knowledge and awareness of common legal terms and with the help of an experienced family law attorney or divorce attorney, you can have greater assurance that you are doing what is necessary to protect your parental rights, parental responsibilities, and your relationship with your children. To present your case to Southern California divorce attorneys, divorce lawyers, and child custody attorneys in your area now, click here >>

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