Spousal support or alimony is a monetary payment by one spouse to another. Its purpose is to assist in the receiving party’s support and maintenance. As with all issues relating to divorce, spousal support can be determined either in court or outside of court, using a method of alternate dispute resolution.
The amount of spousal support a party receives or pays during the period of time between separation and finalizing your divorce is considered temporary support. This type of spousal support is ordered to enable the spouse who earns less income to maintain the “status quo” in terms of lifestyle and allows this party to get on his or her feet after separation. It is often calculated using the same computer program as child support, but it is appropriate to deviate from the program as well, depending on the facts of the case.
Long-term or permanent spousal support can be a misnomer. This type of support usually begins on or around the entry of Judgment of Dissolution and continues (if warranted) for various periods of time. One factor that affects the length of support is whether the marriage was short term (i.e. less than 10 years). If this is the case, spousal support might last a certain number of years and then terminate. In short term marriages, barring any extenuating circumstances, spousal support generally lasts approximately one half the length of the marriage. A long-term marriage is considered a marriage that is 10 years or longer in duration. To determine long-term support, the court will consider the various factors contained in California Family Code Section 4320.
A party that receives spousal support, whether permanent or temporary, is obligated to seek employment and to become self-supporting- with a few narrow exceptions.
Setzer Family law is experienced in representing parties that both seek spousal support and those that pay spousal support. We also work with many people seeking to modify spousal support or alimony post-judgment.