There are many common myths concerning the subject of spousal support in the United States. Spousal support is a complex subject and is an issue treated differently in California than in many other states. Additionally, spousal support questions are often resolved differently depending on any given couple’s unique circumstances.
For these reasons, it is important to consult an experienced California family law attorney with your spousal support questions and concerns, rather than making assumptions about your situation. Below are some of the most common misunderstood spousal support issues in California.
Spousal Support Myth #1: Spousal Support Is A Right In California
Spousal support is not a right in California. There is a broad range of factors the court takes into consideration when deciding whether or not to award spousal support. The purpose of awarding spousal support is to allow both parties to maintain the lifestyle they were accustomed to during the marriage.
When possible, the goal of spousal support is that the supported party make reasonable good faith efforts to become self-supporting. The failure to make reasonable good faith efforts may be one of the factors considered by the court as a basis for modifying or terminating support.
Spousal Support Myth #2: Spousal Support Is Awarded Indefinitely
There are some cases where permanent spousal support is awarded, but most spousal support awards are temporary. As stated above, a spousal support award is used to aid the recipient spouse in becoming self-supporting.
In marriages of “long duration,” or more than ten years, the court keeps the right to rule on spousal support at any time. However, the court never has to grant spousal support. Spousal support generally ends in the event of remarriage.
Spousal Support Myth #3: Spousal Support Cannot Be Changed Or Modified
Unless the spouses agree otherwise, spousal support can always be modified. Some instances where spousal support can be modified are in the event of a job loss, a change in time allotment with the children, or a large inheritance received by the spouse receiving support.
Spousal Support Myth #4: Spousal Support Is Calculated By A Computer Program
Child support is calculated by a computer program and temporary spousal support can also be calculated by that same program. However, spousal support is not calculated by a computer program. Temporary spousal support is a short order to allow the receiving party some form of support while waiting on a full-court hearing.
Spousal support is determined after a full review of a case by the court in light of all relevant factors and any other information the court deems important.
Spousal Support Myth #5: Spousal Support Is A Form Of Punishment
Spousal support is not a type of punishment doled out to the payor. Instead, spousal support is a means for the payee to continue living according to the standards they were accustomed to during the marriage. California is a “no-fault” divorce state; therefore, the fault of the parties is not factored into any spousal support or property settlement.
An Experienced Torrance, California, Spousal Support Attorney Can Help
These are only some of the common myths and misconceptions about spousal support. There are many factors the court takes into consideration when deciding whether or not to award spousal support, and if so, how much to award. It is always crucial to discuss these factors with an experienced family law attorney who is experienced in spousal support, whether you are the payee or payor.
Your attorney can explain current and future ramifications of spousal support on your finances, including potential tax implications. The Law Office of Bruce A. Mandel can answer your questions about spousal support and provide you with invaluable information to consider when settling or taking your divorce case to trial.