Long Beach | Los Angeles| Orange County Spousal Support | Alimony
Spousal Support, often known as alimony, consists of two components. They are the payment amount and the duration of the court’s ability to award support.
Duration of Spousal Support
There is a rebuttable presumption that the court’s jurisdiction to award spousal support shall continue for half the length of the marriage for a marriage that lasted less than ten years from the date of marriage to the date of separation. For marriages of ten years or more the court’s jurisdiction to award or modify alimony continues until the death of one of the parties, the supported party remarries, or the parties stipulate to ending the court’s jurisdiction to award support.
Amount of Spousal Support
Pendente lite or temporary support is awarded by the court to maintain the supported party pending a judgment of divorce. Temporary support is usually calculated using the same program the courts normally use to determine child support. This program is called “Dissomaster”. Unlike child support the judicial officer is free to adjust the calculated support up or down depending on his or her preferences and the circumstances of the case.
Use of Dissomaster in Determining Spousal Support
In most cases it seems to be true that post judgement support is less than what was awarded in temporary (pre-judgement) support. Nevertheless, the court cannot use the Dissomaster program to determine permanent support and must instead consider the California Code Family Code 4320 factors as follows:
4320. In ordering spousal support under this part, the court shall consider all of the following circumstances:
(a) The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into account all of the following:
(1) The marketable skills of the supported party; the job market for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire other, more marketable skills or employment.
(2) The extent to which the supported party’s present or future earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment that were incurred during the marriage to permit the supported party to devote time to domestic duties.
(b) The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party.
(c) The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living.
(d) The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage.
(e) The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party.
(f) The duration of the marriage.
(g) The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party.
(h) The age and health of the parties.
(i) Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, between the parties, including, but not limited to, consideration of emotional distress resulting from domestic violence perpetrated against the supported party by the supporting party, and consideration of any history of violence against the supporting party by the supported party.
(j) The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party.
(k) The balance of the hardships to each party.
(l) The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. Except in the case of a marriage of long duration as described in Section 4336, a “reasonable period of time” for purposes of this section generally shall be one-half the length of the marriage. However, nothing in this section is intended to limit the court’s discretion to order support for a greater or lesser length of time, based on any of the other factors listed in this section, Section 4336, and the circumstances of the parties.
(m) The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award in accordance with Section 4325.
(n) Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.