Family lawyer Erin McGaughey discusses how spousal support is determined in California, as well as the most important factors which are involved.
How is spousal support determined in California?
Spousal support is determined on a temporary basis during the pendency of a divorce. We often use the guidelines similar to the child support. We also look at factors in the family code that are considerations in determining the amount of support, which is really the key arguments and data that the court will look at when making a permanent support order.
The most important of those factors when it comes to spousal support in California, are the ones that you see used most often: the ability to pay and the need for spousal support. This leads into the second question: If a spouse hasn’t been employed for five years during a marriage, will that have an effect? Yes, it will. The courts on a temporary basis basically look at where everybody is right now. What’s the current status quo? However, it is the goal of the state that all parties become self-supporting. There is an expectation that the unemployed spouse at some point will start earning money and contributing to their needs monetarily.
One of the 4,320 factors that’s also considered by the court when it comes to spousal support in California – is how much time one spouse may have taken off to devote themselves to domestic duty. That will play into the spousal support that’s ultimately decided by a court or most likely negotiated.
Erin McGaughey is a family lawyer and partner at McGaughey & Spirito, in California, and handles complex divorce cases that involve child custody issues, financial issues, and business interests.