When a couple is seeking divorce or is legally separated, a court may order one of the parties to provide a certain amount of financial support to the other party. Spousal support, also known as alimony, in the State of California can be a very difficult legal matter that can commonly lead to stress or arguments among the parties involved. If you are going through a divorce, seek the legal advice of a specialized attorney who can champion on your behalf.

What is Spousal Support in California?

Spousal Support in California is a financial payment from one former spouse to the other after they have separated with the intention to divorce. Prior to the making of any payments, and in an effort of preventing future disputes, a written agreement or court order should be filed with the appropriate court. The State of California allows for spouses to request the following:

    • Permanent support,
    • Temporary support, or
    • Both

What is the Difference between Temporary and Permanent Spousal Support?

The main difference between temporary and permanent support is that it takes into account where the parties are in the divorce procedure.

Temporary Support – refers to regular payments made from the higher earning party to the party who earns less. Temporary support is a short-term financial support provided to the lower earning party solely in the duration of the divorce proceeding. Temporary support will typically conclude once a permanent award has been set.

Permanent Support – refers to a long term financial support provided from one party to the other. Unlike temporary support, which is set to provide aid to one party during the divorce proceedings, permanent support is set to provide financial support after the divorce. The purpose of permanent support is to provide the lower-earning party a similar standard of living prior to the divorce.

How is Permanent Support Determined?

There are several factors that can play a significant role when determining permanent support. If an agreement cannot be accomplished among both parties, it is likely that a family court will decide the amount and/or duration of the long-term spousal support.

When determining what party will be responsible of paying support as well as the amount to be paid, the court can consider the potential of earning capacity for either party. Other factors may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The length of the marriage,
  • The age of the parties,
  • The health of the parties,
  • The paying party’s ability to make support payments, and/or
  • The financial needs for both parties 

How Can An Attorney Help?

Determining if support is the right choice for a divorcing couple can be a complex matter. Deciding on the amount can present even more difficulties. Obtaining the legal representation of an experienced attorney can help a divorcing spouse champion for his or her rights through the entire process. Divorce can always be a difficult matter for any family. Seeking the legal expertise of a knowledgeable attorney can help to ensure that every base is covered and that the rights of the party seeking or giving support is not being exploited.

The attorneys at the RM Law Group LLP. are dedicated to helping those going through a divorce procedure understand the legal implications of the process, including spousal support payments. If you have reason to believe that you should be receiving spousal support or are otherwise seeking to protect your rights when paying support, seek the legal support of a skilled family law attorney as soon as possible.