The purpose of spousal support is twofold. It ensures the lower earning spouse has sufficient income for their basic needs, and secures the continuity of the parties’ lifestyle after the divorce.
There are two types of spousal supports and how they are determined differs.
Temporary spousal support is utilized to maintain the status quo of the parties during the pendency of a dissolution or legal separation. Temporary support is fairly straight forward and determined by a guideline amount generated by a software program often done in conjunction with the child support calculation.
Long Term Spousal Support, also known as “permanent spousal support” is paid by the higher earning spouse and addresses the receiving spouse’s needs after judgment of the divorce. However, it’s not really permanent. The duration of long term spousal support typically depends on the length of the marriage.
For a marriage lasting less than 10 years, the general “rule of thumb” is that support is awarded for half the length of the marriage. For a long term marriage, lasting 10 years or more, spousal support is awarded to the lower earning spouse for so long as he or she needs, so long as the paying spouse has the ability to pay. In addition, spousal support ceases upon the death of either spouse, remarriage of the receiving spouse, or by court order.
The amount of a long term spousal support order is difficult to ascertain. Courts are not permitted to base a long term support order off of the guideline number generated by the software used to determine temporary support. Instead, courts must evaluate the circumstances pursuant to a 14-factor analysis governed by Family Code Section 4320. In addition, judges have broad discretion in the manner in which they implement those factors.
Both emotionally and financially, spousal support is burdensome on the parties moving forward. At Braunstein Law, we will carefully review your circumstances, and counsel you on the best strategic options for negotiation. Contact Braunstein Law to set up a free 1/2 hour consultation to evaluate your case.
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