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A series of occasional blogs about divorcing in California.
Part 11. Spousal support and divorce
Of all the issues surrounding a divorce in California, it would be hard to find one that is more loaded with misconceptions that the issue of spousal support when filing for divorce in California, also known as “alimony”; chalk that up to the depiction in movies and some media outlets of certain high profile cases.
We have handled hundreds of divorce cases in Los Angeles during the last few years and the percentage of cases where spousal support was an issue is very small, certainly in the single digits.
The rule of thumb is that if a spouse will face financial hardships without any support from the ex-spouse, then spousal support should be considered. The deciding factor for spousal support is the need to maintain the spouse at his or her customary standard of living. In other words, the law recognizes a husband or wife should not be forced to live at a level below the one enjoyed during the marriage.
However, other factors also need to be considered. A couple of major factors are the length of the marriage, and whether both spouses are employed and self-sufficient.
However, this does not mean the spouses cannot agree on spousal support. As in other aspects of a divorce in California proceeding, the court will ratify every agreement the parties reach, as long as it’s properly drafted, without making judgments or getting involved. Spousal support can be for an unlimited period, it can be subject to the remarriage of the recipient spouse, or end on a specific date.
An interesting fact to know is that Child support payments do take priority over spousal support. The court protects the interests and needs of the minor children more vigorously that the ones of the recipient spouse. Of course spousal support can be waived by the recipient spouse, often times in exchange for other concessions, like the transfer of real estate, or one time disbursements. However, the waiver should be in writing and signed by both spouses.
The Document People is a network of legal document assistants with a common purpose: helping customers with uncontested divorces. We are looking forward to assisting you with your marital settlement agreement in our offices in Woodland Hills We the People, Santa Monica We the People, San Fernando, Torrance, Anaheim and Oceanside and Glendale.
The information contained in this blog – including information of a legal nature – is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.