Married couples have an obligation to financially support each other during their marriage and under certain circumstances, afterwards. In California, when a couple obtains a legal separation or when they get divorced, the family court may order the higher-earning spouse to pay their husband or wife a certain amount of money each month – this is called “spousal support,” but in some other states it’s also known as “alimony.”
The California Courts issued an alert about spousal support. In fact, the California Courts stated that spousal support is a difficult issue and it advised spouses to see an attorney about it. A lawyer can help you:
- Understand how spousal support works in California;
- Understand how long spousal support may last;
- Understand how spousal support may affect your annual taxes;
- Calculate spousal support in your case; and
- Prepare the necessary forms to obtain spousal support.
How Do I Get Started?
If you’re interested in obtaining spousal support, first there has to be a court case. As a spouse or domestic partner, you can ask the judge to issue a spousal support order in any of the following types of cases:
- A domestic violence restraining order
- An annulment
- A legal separation
- A divorce action
- An annulment (these are rare)
“Can I get spousal support while my case is pending or do I have to wait until I’m divorced?” is a question a lot of people ask. Yes, it is possible to receive spousal support while a divorce action is pending in the courts. When a judge awards spousal support while a divorce action is pending, it’s called “temporary spousal support.”
A judge can also award spousal support after the divorce or legal separation have been finalized. Once it’s awarded after the divorce is official, it’s then called “permanent or long-term” spousal support. In marriages that lasted less than 10 years, it’s common for support to last half the length of the marriage, but judges have wide discretion in determining the duration of support.
Note: Spousal support is not automatic in a California divorce. An award is very fact-specific and much of it has to do with one spouse’s need and the other spouse’s ability to pay it.
For all of your divorce needs, contact Burch Shepard Family Law Group!