Calculating Spousal Support in California

Calculating Spousal Support in California

When ending a marriage, there are a number of considerations splitting spouses will need to think about. Among them is spousal support, which is determined differently in each state. In California specifically, certain factors determine how spousal support is calculated.

Factors that Determine How Much Alimony is Awarded

Spousal support, also known as permanent alimony, is used to help a spouse become self-supporting. Courts calculate the amount one spouse will need to pay to the receiving spouse through several factors.

These factors can include:

  • The age of each spouse

  • The health of each spouse

  • Earning capacity of the supported spouse

  • Financial needs of each spouse

  • The marital standard of living

  • The marketable skills of the supported spouse

  • Whether there are any potential difficulties for the supported spouse to find employment

  • Length of the marriage

How long will I pay/receive spousal support?

In California, the length of your marriage is the primary factor that determines how long alimony is paid/received. Typically, the duration of the support depends on whether you were married for more or less than ten years.

  • Marriages of Less Than 10 Years - For those married for less than a decade, the rules for spousal support are different than longer relationships. In this case, time is the determining factor. Generally, in these situations, the length of time for such support in California is set for half the length of the marriage. So, for instance, if the marriage lasted for eight years one would then be responsible for providing spousal support for a term of four years.
  • Marriages of More Than 10 Years - For longer marriages, alimony is handled differently. In these situations, the court does not set the duration for spousal support. Unlike in shorter-lived marriages, time is not the deciding factor. Instead, at some point, the ex-spouse who is providing the support will bear the burden of proving that the money is no longer warranted. In these instances, it is important to consult with a lawyer who is experienced in this field for help.

Changing or Ending Spousal Support in California 

If you or your former spouse experience a “change in circumstances,” you may need to change your spousal support agreement. If the paying spouse experiences a significant decrease in the amount of money they make, for example, he or she may be able to seek a modification to reflect his/her new financial situation.

You can also ask the court to end your spousal support payments if circumstances change significantly. If the receiving spouse remarries or enters a new domestic partnership, for instance, the paying spouse can fill out an “ex parte” application to end payments.

Remember: spousal support payments do not change automatically. You must fill out the application and submit it to the court. Additionally, a verbal agreement to end or modify your spousal support is not enforceable by the court. In other words, if you and your spouse agree to modify your support payments, you must also put it in writing and have the new agreement signed by a judge.

Speak With a Murrieta Spousal Support Attorney

When it comes to ending a marriage, it is in your best interest to know what the ramifications may be. That includes knowing how spousal support is calculated in California. Being armed with this information may help in planning for the future regardless of whether you are the one providing the support or if you are the one receiving it.

Our Murrieta divorce attorney, Michael D. Iverson, is here to help you with your spousal support matter. He will protect your interests and ensure your rights are always protected throughout the divorce process. When you choose the Law Offices of Michael D. Iverson, you can rest easy knowing that we will handle your case with the utmost care.

Call the Law Offices of Michael D. Iverson today at (951) 418-2770!

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