There are two types of spousal support, temporary and permanent, and they are differentiated by where the parties are in the dissolution, separation or nullity proceeding. For temporary support, support paid while the parties maneuver through dissolution litigation and before judgment is entered, the court is concerned about maintaining the status quo. The court may use Dissomaster, a guideline support calculator, to make an order for temporary support.
For permanent support, the court looks to factors set forth in Family Code section 4320. The court weighs information provided by the parties regarding their income, assets, debts, age, and relative health of the parties. The court will also consider whether either party has been subject to domestic abuse during the marriage. If so, this can affect the amount and duration of permanent support.
The permanency of support will depend on whether and when a non-working or under-employed spouse will return to the workforce full-time or at their full capacity. The length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties and the supported party’s work history, among other considerations, will inform this decision. There are “warnings” that are given to supported spouses that he/she should become self-supporting and they should do so in a reasonable amount of time. Generally speaking, for marriages that are less than 10 years, support may last up to half-the length of the marriage. For marriages that are longer than 10 years, there is no definition in the Family Code as to what is a “reasonable” amount of time within which to become self-supporting and, therefore, the requirement to pay support may endure for many years after the marriage has been dissolved.
Spousal support is a complex family law issue. Contact Attorney Rizzo for a complimentary consultation about your support matter.