Commonly referred to as “alimony,” spousal support is designed to aid an economically disadvantaged spouse to continue to enjoy a similar standard of living after the marriage ends.
There are two types of spousal support awards in California: (1) temporary spousal support; and (2) permanent spousal support.
The Court may award temporary support during divorce proceedings to maintain the status quo to the greatest extent possible until the divorce is finalized. When awarding temporary spousal support, the Court considers the supported spouse’s financial needs as well as the supporting spouse’s ability to pay. Typically, this is calculated by determining each spouse’s net disposable income through the Dissomaster program (as is used in child support calculations).
Permanent support is awarded after the divorce is finalized. When fashioning the amount and duration of a permanent support award, the Court does not use the Dissomaster program. Instead, the Court must take into account a number of factors outlined in the Family Code, including the marital standard of living, the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, the actual income or earning capacity of each spouse, marital assets and obligations and any history of domestic violence between the parties.
The amount and duration of spousal support is often the subject of intense litigation. Because the Court has wide discretion in fashioning a support award, it is important to hire an experienced family law attorney who understands how to arrive at the proper amount of spousal support for you, if any.