Facing a divorce or legal separation can be a very stressful process and alimony issues can exacerbate the ordeal. In the State of California, the family courts will consider many factors before making a decision to grant or deny spousal support. They will also determine the exact amount that is to be paid. Here, we’ll examine the differences between temporary spousal support and permanent spousal support. Understanding the key distinctions can help you protect your rights as you move through the divorce process.

Temporary Spousal Support

Temporary spousal support is an order that will only be awarded for the duration of the divorce process and this order will usually end once the terms for the divorce have been agreed upon and the process has concluded. State law allows family courts to order the supporting spouse to pay any justifiable amount, which is usually based on a party’s income and the other spouse’s needs. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure both parties can maintain the same standard of living they were accustomed to prior to the separation.

Factors  that are considered when determining the amount of support: The length of the marriage or domestic partnership; What each person needs based on the standard of living they had during the marriage or domestic partnership; What each person pays or can pay (including earnings and earning capacity) to keep the standard of living they had during the marriage or domestic partnership; Whether having a job would make it too hard to take care of the children; Debts and property; Whether 1 spouse or domestic partner helped the other get an education, training, career, or professional license; Whether there was domestic violence in the marriage or domestic partnership and/or Whether 1 spouse’s, or domestic partner’s, career was affected by unemployment or by taking care of the children or home.

Permanent Spousal Support

Once the divorce process has been finalized, temporary spousal support will end. Beyond that, a family court judge may order a party to pay a long-term form of support known as permanent spousal support. While this support can last an indefinite period of time, it is not meant to last a lifetime, as the name suggests.

The duration of permanent spousal support payments can depend on the duration of the marriage. Generally, a marriage that has lasted an extended period of time will have a spousal support order that lasts longer. In many cases, marriages that lasted a period of 10 years or less will see an order set for half that time. In contrast, a marriage that lasted longer will involve many more factors and will usually be far more complex. A list of factors a judge can use to determine the final amount can be found in the State of California Family Code §4320.

Speak to a Well-Versed Family Law Attorney

If you are going through a divorce or a legal separation, consider speaking to a qualified family law attorney who can help you understand what your legal rights and obligations are. In many cases, divorce is not a simple matter that is resolved quickly. Obtain the support of an experienced attorney who can help you through the process.

The family law attorneys at RM Law Group, LLP, are qualified in handling the most complex divorce cases in the State of California. The law firm has many years of dedicated experience handling diverse family law issues. Consider contacting the firm today for a no-obligation consultation.