Spousal support, also referred to as alimony, is the legal obligation for one spouse to provide financial support to the other spouse during separation and upon divorce.
Temporary and Permanent Support
Temporary support is ordered by a court during your divorce proceeding while permanent support is ordered at the end of your divorce case. A court is allowed to use a computer program, called Dissomaster or X-spouse, to determine temporary support. The court cannot use this computer program to determine permanent support. The only factors a court considers for temporary support is the supported party’s needs and the supporting party’s ability to pay. There are more than a dozen factors the court considers when arriving at a figure for permanent support.
Modifying Spousal Support
You can request to change a spousal support order if you can show that there has been a “change in circumstances” since the spousal support order was made. The supported party no longer needs support or the supporting party can no longer afford to paid support.
Terminating Spousal Support
Spousal support is terminated by death, remarriage, or by a court order. A spouse is given support for a reasonable amount of time to become self-supporting. In marriages lasting less than 10 years, a reasonable amount of time is generally considered to be half the length of the marriage. In marriages that last longer than 10 years, a court will require the supported spouse to become self-supporting as soon as reasonably possible. California law does not require lifetime support and spousal support can be terminated at any time.
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