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What factors may be considered when determining spousal support?

Spousal support in California is often a hotly debated topic between two individuals seeking a divorce. However, the court's main focus is issuing an order that is fair and appropriate. There are certain factors that the court may consider in such situations. California residents may be interested in learning more about what these factors are.

One factor that may be considered is the standard of living the spouses enjoyed while married and whether each spouse will be able to earn enough of an income to retain a standard of living that is similar to what they had during the marriage. The judge may consider each spouse's marketable work skills and the availability of jobs involving those skills. If it will take a certain amount of time or money for the receiving spouse to obtain the skills needed to become employed, this may also be considered. In addition, if one spouse remained unemployed in order to take care of the domestic duties of the marriage, this may also be considered.

Another factor that may be considered is how long the marriage lasted. When awarding spousal support, the court aims to see that the receiving spouse will be able to financially support himself or herself after a reasonable amount of time. What is reasonable may be calculated as 50 percent of how long the marriage lasted, but the judge does retain the power to decide otherwise based on the facts of the case. Moreover, if the marriage lasted a decade or more, it may be possible for a judge to order a longer-lasting award of spousal support.

Also, the judge may consider whether there have been incidents of domestic abuse when determining spousal support. If they paying spouse has committed acts of abuse against the receiving spouse, the judge will take into account what emotional distress the receiving spouse experienced. In addition, there is a rebuttable presumption against awarding spousal support to the spouse that committed the acts of abuse.

These are only some factors a judge may consider when awarding spousal support. This post is meant for informational purposes only, and cannot guarantee any specific result for those seeking spousal support. Spouses who want to learn more about the topic of spousal support or other divorce issues may seek the advice of an attorney.

Source:, "Asking for a Spousal/Partner Support Order," accessed April 3, 2016

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