Spousal support, also called partner support or alimony, is a big part of any divorce conversation in California. Even couples that signed a prenuptial agreement may have conversations with lawyers and accountants to discuss what amount of money is owed or would be paid according to California’s spousal support requirements. In some divorces, spousal support is the main point of contention, and a necessary concept for every Newport CA divorce lawyer to explain.
Divorce clients have several questions regarding spousal support. For some people, meeting with a Newport CA divorce lawyer is the first time hearing the term “spousal support” or being introduced to the concept. Other divorce clients only want to know one thing about spousal support, how much do I owe/receive in spousal support?
At the Bledsoe Firm, we’ve compiled a list of the most common questions about calculating child support and provided the answers you need before filing for divorce.
#1: What Is the Purpose of Spousal Support?
Modern ideas and laws about California spousal support started in English religious courts, called ecclesiastical courts. These courts believed that a husband owed a duty of support to his wife, and this duty continued after termination of the marriage. It’s important to remember that two hundred years ago, very few women worked outside the home or had an income. Therefore, withdrawing a husband’s support and finances would have left the woman without a livelihood or opportunity to earn a livelihood.
While many of the circumstances around spousal support have changed, divorce courts in California and corresponding laws have maintained that it is important to limit unfair and harmful economic impacts of a divorce. One way to eliminate economic disparity after a divorce is by requiring the higher-wage-earner in the marriage to continue providing some financial support to the lower-wage-earner.
#2: What Will I Owe or Receive in Spousal Support?
After hearing arguments and justification from a Newport CA divorce lawyer, a family court judge will make a determination on the appropriate amount of spousal support. In certain cases, the amount is negotiated outside court by the spouses and simply approved by the judge. In either instance, there is no exact way to determine the amount of child support you will owe.
California doesn’t have a specific equation or calculation for determining the appropriate amount of spousal support in a divorce case. Instead, the current statute covering the spousal support calculation simply provides guidance and circumstances for a Newport CA divorce lawyer and divorce court to consider.
Without knowing the specific facts of your marriage, divorce, finances, and income it is impossible for a Newport CA divorce lawyer to calculate spousal support owed in your divorce
#3: Can a California Judge Use a Formula to Calculate Spousal Support?
There are several formulas and calculators online and used by Newport CA divorce lawyers to estimate the amount of spousal support a California court will order in a divorce. Generally, these calculations require information on income, number of dependents, amount of health insurance payments and tax bracket, and then similar questions about your former spouse or partner.
These calculations aren’t entirely different from what a California family law court could use to determine temporary spousal support. However, when it comes to making a final determination in the divorce decree, a California judge must take into account several factors not represented by these numerical calculations (read the full list of considerations here).
#4: What Can a California Judge Consider for Spousal Support?
There are over 15 different pieces of information and criteria that a judge is required to consider when determining California spousal support. The first, and what many people falsely believe is the only criteria, is the capability of both spouses to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage after divorce.
Within this broad consideration are several smaller factors, such as the marketable skills of the less-earning spouse and gaps on a resume due to time off supporting the other spouse or raising kids. However, a judge can and should consider much more than this.
A Newport CA divorce lawyer can help you gather information on how you contributed to your spouse earning a college degree, master’s degree, or PHD, the obligations and assets of you and your spouse, the length of the marriage, and your age and current health. All of these are taken into account by a judge in family court.
In fact, a California judge will consider nearly every aspect of current income, earning potential, financial arrangement during the marriage, and ability to work in the future.
Questions of Spousal Support for a Newport CA Divorce Lawyer
If you have questions about spousal support and want clear, honest answers from a Newport CA divorce lawyer, contact Southern California lawyer, John Bledsoe. The Law Offices of John A. Bledsoe provide a free, initial consultation for all new divorce and family law clients, which is the perfect opportunity to better understand the process and calculation of spousal support. Simply call 949.363.5551.