Spousal Support




In a divorce, spousal support must be requested in the petition for divorce or in the response to the petition for divorce. Spousal support is never automatic in California divorce courts. The parties can agree to any amount, duration, and terms, but if decided by the court, then the judge must follow the law.

Divorce Attorney Francisco Zavala will make sure that you receive adequate spousal support as required by law. If necessary, Family Law Attorney Francisco Zavala will seek immediate temporary orders for spousal support.

Spousal support is not favored where the marriage is very short or where there are no children and both spouses can financially take care of themselves. In medium and longer marriages, judges try to equalize the standards of living for both spouses after the divorce. A wife may be ordered to support her husband if she earns substantially more, since the law is gender-neutral. The best way to determine the amount of spousal support is to have both sides come to a mutual agreement. However, if no such agreement is possible, then the court will look at California Family Code section 4320 to apply the law and determine the amount of spousal support if any.



In ordering spousal support under this part, the court shall
consider all of the following circumstances:

(a) The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is
sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the
marriage, taking into account all of the following:

   (1) The marketable skills of the supported party; the job market
 for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported
 party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop
 those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to
 acquire other, more marketable skills or employment.

   (2) The extent to which the supported party's present or future
 earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment that were
 incurred during the marriage to permit the supported party to devote
 time to domestic duties.

(b) The extent to which the supported party contributed to the
attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license
by the supporting party.

(c) The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support,
taking into account the supporting party's earning capacity, earned
and unearned income, assets, and standard of living.

(d) The needs of each party based on the standard of living
established during the marriage.

(e) The obligations and assets, including the separate property,
of each party.

(f) The duration of the marriage.

(g) The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful
employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent
children in the custody of the party.

(h) The age and health of the parties.

(i) Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence, as
defined in Section 6211, between the parties, including, but not
limited to, consideration of emotional distress resulting from
domestic violence perpetrated against the supported party by the
supporting party, and consideration of any history of violence
against the supporting party by the supported party.

(j) The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party.

(k) The balance of the hardships to each party.
(l) The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting
 within a reasonable period of time. Except in the case of a marriage
 of long duration as described in Section 4336, a "reasonable period
 of time" for purposes of this section generally shall be one-half the
 length of the marriage. However, nothing in this section is intended
 to limit the court's discretion to order support for a greater or
 lesser length of time, based on any of the other factors listed in
 this section, Section 4336, and the circumstances of the parties.

(m) The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be
considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support
award in accordance with Section 4325.

(n) Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.

Contact Spousal Support Attorney, Francisco M. Zavala, Esq. (661) 753-3534



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