Kevin Qualls Family Law
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What factors may a court consider when ordering spousal support?

One of the most potentially volatile legal issues couples in California seeking a divorce will have to address is that of spousal support -- also known as alimony. While it may be the case that one spouse is willing to pay the other a fair amount of support, often couples cannot agree on what is fair, or may even contest whether support should be paid at all.

In California, there is no statutory formula used to calculate spousal support. However, there are factors that the judge must take into account when determining how much spousal support to award and for how long.

First of all, the length of the marriage is one factor that will be considered, as will each spouse's health and age. The court will consider the needs of each spouse, in light of the standard of living the spouses had while married. Similarly, how much each spouse is able to pay to maintain that standard of living will be considered.

Sometimes, during a marriage, one spouse stays out of the workforce to take care of the children. When determining spousal support, the court will consider whether it would be too difficult to care for the children if the stay-at-home parent returned to the workforce. Similarly, the effect staying at home had on that spouse's career will be considered

The debts and assets of each spouse will be considered. If one spouse assisted the other in obtaining an education, job-related training, a professional license or in some other way assisted the spouse in furthering his or her career, this will also be considered. If a spouse was unemployed at some point during the marriage, affecting his or her career, this may also be considered.

Another serious consideration that the court will take into account is if there is a history of domestic abuse while the couple was married. Finally, the tax impact that the party paying or receiving spousal support would experience will also be considered.

After the judge considers all of these factors, he or she will issue a spousal support order. This post only provides general information about the factors the court will consider when determining spousal support, and it cannot guarantee any specific result. Therefore, if an individual has questions about spousal support or other divorce issues, seeking the advice of an attorney may help.

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