Spousal Support In California

There are generally two types of spousal support in California: temporary and permanent. While temporary spousal support can be a fairly mechanical procedure, similar to calculating child support, any spousal support that is ordered at the time of trial or settlement is far more nuanced.

The Los Angeles divorce attorneys of Joel S. Seidel & Associates are highly experienced in these matters, and we regularly help our clients achieve fair spousal support arrangements. We also help our clients obtain modifications of existing support orders when circumstances have changed substantially.

Temporary Support Vs. Permanent Support

In California, temporary spousal support is usually calculated with the DissoMasterâ„¢ program, which provides a mathematical formula for the support calculation. In fact, courts encourage lawyers and litigants to use a computer program to calculate the amount of temporary spousal support, which is generally higher than permanent spousal support.

However, for permanent spousal support, use of the DissoMasterâ„¢ program is prohibited. Rather, the trial court must balance various facts as set forth in the Family Code in fashioning the correct spousal support order.

The court decides what the appropriate spousal support order is by considering the standard of living established during the marriage, and by considering other circumstances, including but not limited to:

  • The supporting spouse's ability to pay
  • Each spouse's needs, as they relate to the marital standard of living
  • Each spouse's obligations and assets, including any separate property
  • Any other factors relevant to a just and equitable award

The court has broad discretion in these matters, and it is important to have an experienced spousal support lawyer on your side, whether you are seeking to receive permanent spousal support or being asked to pay it.

Duration Of Spousal Support

While not a hard and fast rule, the presumption regarding spousal support in California is that, for marriages that end in divorce after less than 10 years, the typical duration of spousal support is one-half the length of the marriage (i.e., usually no more than five years).

For long-term marriages, which are those lasting at least 10 years, spousal support may be ordered for a much longer span of time, even until the supported spouse's death or remarriage, although other circumstances factor into the court's decision.

Experience You Can Rely On

The family law attorneys of Joel S. Seidel & Associates have extensive experience in handling cases with a wide variety of spousal support considerations, and we have represented parties on both sides of the spousal support issue: those seeking an award of spousal support, and those challenging or defending against unreasonable spousal support demands.

As necessary, we enlist the help of forensic accountants or vocational experts to assist the court in determining the appropriate spousal support figure.

Contact Joel S. Seidel & Associates

To schedule a consultation with an experienced spousal support lawyer, contact Joel S. Seidel & Associates at 818-488-6423. We have offices in Century City and Northridge.