All you need to know about spousal support

When California couples divorce, the court might order spousal support for one party. It’s important to know how this is determined and how long a person can receive it.

What is spousal support?

Spousal support is ordered as payment to one party, and it can be either temporary or permanent. Temporary spousal support is payment ordered by the court for one spouse while the divorce is pending. It doesn’t have a set expiration period.

Meanwhile, permanent spousal support is financial support that one spouse pays to the other after the divorce is final. This is also known as alimony, which is determined based on a variety of factors from the marriage. Those factors include the length of the marriage, how much each spouse contributed to the household financially, standard of living during the marriage, debts and property held by each party, each spouse’s income and potential earning capacity and the health and age of each person.

What is the purpose of spousal support?

The purpose of temporary spousal support is to help one party to maintain the standard of living they experienced during the marriage until the permanent support amount is determined post-divorce. Once the divorce is final, permanent spousal support is ordered to help meet one party’s basic needs to ensure that they will be able to support themselves moving forward. Some people lack the proper education and career skills to earn a living that meets the standards they knew when they were married.

California law follows the policy that both parties must be self-supporting after a certain point of time following a divorce. Spousal support is meant to bridge the gap until the point where the one receiving the support can manage.

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