Spousal Support

Attorneys at Our FirmFamily Law Attorneys Advising Residents of Manhattan Beach

If a couple divorces, one spouse (or domestic partner) may be ordered to pay spousal support, also known as alimony. This is usually paid on a monthly basis as part of a divorce order, legal separation order, annulment, or domestic violence restraining order. In some family law cases, you can ask for temporary spousal support while the case is pending, and this may become permanent or long-term spousal support. At the Calderone Law Firm, our family law lawyers can advise people in Manhattan Beach and the surrounding communities on their rights and options.

Spousal Support in California

Under California law, permanent spousal support is awarded only after evaluating many factors. Some of these include the length of the marriage, the marketable skills of the spouse asking for support, the standard of living during the marriage, the capacity of each person to pay to keep that standard of living, whether child care would be necessary if the spouse asking for support went to work, the age and health of the spouses, domestic violence, and whether one spouse's career was hindered by unemployment or taking care of the couple’s children.

The court has discretion in awarding spousal support. It is supposed to balance the factors and assess the hardships to both parties to arrive at a fair result. Usually, the court makes an award with the understanding that a party receiving spousal support will become self-supporting within a reasonable period. This reasonable period in a short-duration marriage (a marriage of less than 10 years) is half the length of the marriage. For example, if you were married five years, the reasonable period is two and a half years.

However, if a marriage is of long duration (10 years or more), the court has the discretion to award support for longer or even permanently. For example, if you were married for 30 years and you worked as a secretary so that your husband could go to college and law school, and he eventually became a partner at a firm, while you stayed home to raise the kids, you may be in your 50s. You may not be able to make the amount of money you could have made had you attended college or graduate school as a younger person.

In that case, it may be appropriate for the court to award alimony with no definite end date. The burden will be on your ex-spouse to argue at some later date that spousal support is not necessary anymore. You should be aware, however, that lifetime support is not favored. If you enter into a serious romantic relationship and live with a new partner, your spouse will have a strong case that alimony should be discontinued. Moreover, if you are still young and capable of getting trained for a job, you will probably be expected to become self-supporting eventually.

Consult a Manhattan Beach Lawyer When Going through a Divorce

Spousal support can be a heated issue in an otherwise amicable divorce. It can stir up old resentments and make it difficult to look at the situation objectively. Experienced divorce attorneys can guard the interests of Manhattan Beach residents and try to make the process smoother. At the Calderone Law Firm, we represent family law clients in Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, San Pedro, and Torrance. Call us at (310) 706-4101 or contact us via our online form to set up an appointment.