In the cases of separation or divorce where one spouse or domestic partner earns more than another, then financial support may be awarded. There are many factors when determining spousal support. At Viola Law, we help clients throughout the separation or divorce process, resolving settlements that can include the complicated issue of spousal support.
Two Stages of Financial Support
There are two stages of spousal support: temporary and post-divorce financial support.
Temporary spousal support is typically paid after a couple separates but before a divorce (also called marital dissolution) is finalized. Each state has a formula to calculate support. In California, that formula takes into account both parties’ income or earning capacities, tax status, and certain deductions.
Post-divorce spousal support is paid once the divorce is finalized. At this stage, the court can no longer use the state formula to calculate spousal support, but must turn to the Family Code. Family Code section 4320 lays out many factors that may be relevant to the divorcing parties situation.
Factors to Determine Spousal Support
To determine the amount of financial support provided a domestic partner or spouse, the court considers the factors outlined in the law, including:
- The length of marriage or domestic partnership. From the court’s perspective, relationships lasting 10 years or more are considered long-term.
- The standard of living during the marriage
- Earnings, earning capacity or job marketability
- If a spouse must take a job, how it affects the ability to care for children
- Age and health of both parties
- Debts, assets including real property
- Contributions, including education and career support, of a spouse
- Tax impact of spousal support
These factors, along with several others, are weighed and balanced by the court or private judge before making a determination what amount of spousal support, if any, should be awarded in a divorce.
Resolving Support Payment Problems
Once a spousal support agreement is official, the financial agreement becomes a court order. Failure to make these payments have serious consequences, including wage garnishment or further legal action.
If a spouse falls behind on spousal support payments, 10% interest per year is added to the balance due. By law interest charges must be added; a judge cannot stop them.
Consultation with a Family Law Expert
The attorneys at Viola Law can help you throughout the divorce process including spousal support, child support, and visitation agreements. While dissolving a marriage or domestic partnership is never easy, you’ll have us by your side every step of the way.
Your first step is to call us. We’ll begin with an initial phone conversation, gathering information about your situation. Then, we will schedule an initial meeting at our office where we advise you on how best to proceed. As your legal representative, we always keep your information private and confidential.
Choosing Viola Law for Your Property Settlement and Agreement
Viola Law has a reputation for personalized service. We’re sensitive to our clients’ needs. We’ve helped thousands of families in San Mateo County and the surrounding Bay Area counties over 28 years, guiding them through all aspects of marriage planning, divorce, child custody and spousal support, and property division and divorce settlements. We have experienced family law attorneys available including a mediator and private judge.
Have more questions about child custody and visitation agreements? Check out our Child Support and Spousal Support Q&A.
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