California temporary spousal support differs from permanent spousal support in that there are two methods to calculate payments from a supporting spouse to a supported spouse. In addition is the fact that temporary spousal support is awarded only during divorce while permanent spousal support can vary in the duration of time the supported spouse receives support.
The Law Offices of Edward Misleh, APC is a Sacramento law firm, located in Sacramento, California that practices family law and represents clients in Sacramento, California and clients in Northern California with services they need and deserve when addressing spousal support, spousal support termination, and spousal support modifications. Call now our Lawyer Hotline. We offer a free consultation to all new clients. Call now 916-443-1267 for your free consultation.
California Temporary Spousal Support
California temporary spousal support is an order for support that comes during a divorce, legal separation or even an annulment case after one party has filed such a request with the court. It is awarded to either a husband or wife (called the supported-spouse) so that they can live in the manner they were accustomed to during the marriage. California temporary spousal support continues pending disposition of your divorce. A California temporary spousal support order is an attempt by a California court, pending trial, to allocate family income equitably between parties, considering their individual incomes and expenses. California temporary spousal support can be determined using a computer-based program.
Calculating California Temporary Spousal Support
The amount of temporary spousal support ordered to be paid will largely depend on the incomes of both spouses and the payor’s ability to pay.
California courts are allowed to determine temporary spousal support by looking at a “guideline” calculator. The court can consider the guideline calculator but are only required to consider the needs of the supported party and the supporting party’s ability to pay. Those are the only two factors that the trial court judge is bound to consider.
The state of California has established a universal formula to be used in order to assist the courts in addressing temporary spousal support. Essentially, the formula plugs the fundamental factors needed to determine temporary spousal support into a spousal support calculator in order to arrive at a specified amount of temporary spousal support that should be paid by the payer spouse. The court may then make adjustments to the calculated amount of temporary spousal support if it finds the amount to be unjust or inappropriate with regards to other factors.
California Permanent Spousal Support
In contrast to California temporary spousal support, California permanent spousal support (also known as long term spousal support) is intended to provide financial assistance to the supported spouse. The amount awarded is determined by the financial circumstances of the parties after their dissolution and the division of their community property. In determining permanent spousal support, a court must consider certain factors as set out in California Family Code § 4320. A judge cannot use a computer-based temporary support guideline figure, even if used only as reference point, but must consider all the factors found in the California Family Code.
California Spousal Support
Spousal support, in other states referred to as alimony, is money that is ordered to be paid by one spouse to the other during the divorce (temporary spousal support) and after divorce (permanent spousal support).
The purpose of spousal support is to address the financial disparity that often exists between spouses during and after a divorce and to assist the lower income earning spouse until he or she becomes self-sufficient.
Spousal support may be awarded to either spouse, regardless of their gender. Furthermore, if the payee is also the custodial parent of the couple’s children, it is customary for he or she to be awarded spousal support alongside child support.
Temporary vs Permanent Spousal Support
In California, spousal support may be ordered to be paid while a divorce is pending. This is referred to as temporary spousal support and is payable from the date a petition of dissolution is filed until a final judgment of dissolution is acquired.
Spousal support may also be ordered to be paid for an indefinite period of time after a final judgment of dissolution is acquired. This is referred to as permanent spousal support – which does not mean that it will last forever – but that it must be paid for a duration after the divorce and possibly permanently.
Duration of Permanent Spousal Support
The duration of permanent spousal support will largely depend on the length of the marriage. As a rule of thumb, the longer the marriage, the longer the duration of spousal support after the divorce.
For a short term marriage, that is a marriage of duration of 10 years or less, the duration of permanent spousal support will typically be one-half of the duration of the marriage. In other words, if the marriage lasted for a duration of 8 years, the duration of permanent spousal support will be 4 years.
For long-term marriages – marriages that are 10 years or longer – the rule related to the duration of permanent spousal support is much more complicated. California Family Code Section 4320 lists 14 different factors that the court must take into consideration when determining the amount and duration of permanent spousal support. Included in these factors are:
- The age of the parties.
- The health of the parties.
- The relative needs of the payee.
- The marketable skills of the payee.
- The extent to which the payee’s earning capacity has been impaired due to periods of unemployment while taking care of the family.
- The payer’s ability to pay.
- In addition, the court may also take into consideration any other factors that it deems just and equitable in determining the amount and duration of permanent spousal support.
Because of this, permanent spousal support is a very complicated matter in family law. You are therefore encouraged to consult with an experienced California family law attorney who can help you sort through all of the different issues that may arise when determining permanent spousal support in California.
CALL NOW TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT FOR A FREE CONSULTATION