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How is spousal support determined in California?


When a couple parts ways in Los Angeles, spousal support is an issue that will frequently be in dispute. This can be linked to who pays, how much is paid, and the duration as well as other concerns. California law has certain criteria for these family legal issues. It is important for both parties to understand how the determination regarding spousal support is made. This is true for domestic partners and any other type of union.

There is no specific formula that a judge uses with spousal support. However, there are factors that will be considered. A judge will look at how long the couple was married or in a domestic partnership. There will have been a standard of living that the couple had while they were together and the necessities to maintain that will be weighed. The ability to pay will be assessed; this will include what is earned and the capacity to earn in order to maintain the standard of living. If there are children, the receiving parent might not be able to hold a job and simultaneously care for the children.

Also important is the health and the ages of the couple. The couple might have accrued debts and property - this will be considered. In many cases, one spouse assisted the other spouse in getting an education, receiving training, formulating a career, or getting a professional license and this will be a key to determining spousal support and coming to a fair conclusion. Perhaps there was domestic violence in the relationship. If so, the judge can take that into account. If a spouse had his or her career affected by being unemployed or taking care of children at home, this is part of the determination. Finally, the tax implications of spousal support could be important.

Since spousal support is so imperative to both sides, it is imperative to understand how it is determined and what factors are used to calculate it. From the perspective of both the paying spouse and the receiving spouse, one point is clear: having assistance from an attorney experienced in family law and spousal support is a smart first step and should not be ignored.

Source: courts.ca.gov, "Spousal/Partner Support -- Calculating Spousal or Partner Support," accessed on March 13, 2017

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