San Francisco Spousal Support Attorney
Money questions are a common issue that leads people to divorce. It is also a problem that keeps some people trapped in a marriage when they think they can’t afford to leave and live alone. Often, one spouse will give up a career, leave the workforce, or never attain the higher education they would need to get a good-paying job. They leave a career behind for the sake of the marriage, to raise the children, run the household, or support their spouse in furthering their education and career.
California family law provides a solution for those situations in the form of spousal support, also known as alimony. If your divorce is breaking down but you’ll need financial assistance for a period until you can stand on your own, it’s good to know that spousal support is an option. If you are the party who will be asked (or ordered) to pay, you want to make sure any alimony amount is necessary and fair, and that you won’t be required to pay more than you can reasonably afford.
The California family law attorneys at Cardwell Steigerwald Young LLP can advise and represent you regarding the spousal support issue in your divorce. With over 50 years of combined legal experience and achievement at the highest levels of family law, our team will work with you to make sure your needs and goals are met. Contact our San Francisco spousal support attorney today.
How Spousal Support Works in California
Under California law, a spouse has a legal duty to support the other spouse while the pair are living together. This duty includes using one’s separate property as needed when the community property is lacking or insufficient. Once separated, however, there is no liability for one party to support the other absent an agreement or court order requiring it.
California courts recognize the need for a spousal support order based on an economic disparity between the parties and the inability of the lower-earning party for self-support. The court can order spousal support to be paid while the divorce is ongoing, for a period after the divorce, or both. During the divorce, courts use a set formula to determine the proper amount of support. For a long-term spousal support order after the divorce, the judge in charge of the case will consider a long list of factors to determine whether support is appropriate, how much should be ordered, and how long it should last.
Factors considered by California family law judges when deciding issues of spousal support include:
- Each party’s earning capacity and ability to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage
- How much the party receiving support contributed to the paying party’s education, training, career or professional license
- The ability of the paying party to pay
- The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage
- Each party’s assets and debts, including their separate property
- The length of the marriage
- The ability of the receiving party to work without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of either party
- The age and health of each parent
- Any documented evidence of domestic violence between the parties or perpetrated by either party against a child in the relationship
- The tax consequences of spousal support to each party
- The balance of the hardships for each party
- The goal that the supported party will become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time
- The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
- Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable
The court will order support for a “just and reasonable” amount based on the standard of living established during the marriage, giving the receiving party a reasonable amount of time to become self-supporting. This period is generally considered to be one-half the length of the marriage, although it can be longer or shorter based on the factors mentioned above. Courts can also award spousal support indefinitely after a marriage of a long duration. A long marriage is loosely defined in the law as one lasting ten years or more, although the court has the ability to declare a shorter marriage to be one of long duration. Remarriage by the receiving spouse terminates the spousal support obligation.
The spousal support lawyers at CSY Family Law Group are highly experienced and well-versed in the factors relating to spousal support in a California divorce. We’ll gather the facts and present a strong case to the judge reflecting your needs and goals when it comes to spousal support. We can also represent you in negotiations to come to an acceptable agreement with your spouse regarding spousal support. If an agreement isn’t possible, you’ll find us to be zealous advocates for your interests in court.
Contact Cardwell Steigerwald Young LLP Today
Our California family law attorneys provide the advice and representation you need for a just resolution of spousal support and other issues in your divorce. Contact our experienced San Francisco spousal support attorney today.