San Diego Spousal Support Attorney
Spousal Support Factors
The main factor for spousal support is whether there is a disparity between the incomes of both spouses. If so, the lower income spouse may be eligible for support. Similar to child support, the court looks at the gross monthly income of both spouses. Additionally, the court looks at deductions from both parties’ pay (i.e. health insurance premiums, union dues, property taxes, etc.).
When making an order for spousal support before a divorce judgment, the court only has to look at limited information. This is called a “temporary order” or “pendente lite order.” However, the court considers the following for a final spousal support order:
- Marketable skills of supported party;
- Impairment of supported party’s earning capacity due to periods of unemployment to attend to domestic duties;
- Extent supported party contributed to supporting party’s education, training, license, etc.;
- Supporting party’s ability to pay;
- Needs of each party based on standard of living during marriage;
- Assets and debts of both, including separate property;
- Duration of marriage;
- Ability of supported spouse to obtain employment without interfering with kids;
- Age and health of both spouses;
- Domestic violence history;
- Tax consequences;
- Balance of hardships;
- Goal that the supported spouse be self-supporting;
- Criminal conviction of abusive spouse (results in reduction or elimination); and
- Any other factors deemed just and equitable.
Length of Spousal Support
For a marriage less than ten (10) years, spousal support is generally ordered for half the length of the marriage. For a marriage over 10 years, the order continues until the supported party remarries or either party passes away. There are various circumstances that may either lengthen or shorten the length of time to pay. For example, in one specific case, the Court ordered indefinite support after the parties were married for only eight years. You should consult with an attorney before signing any agreements related to support. An experienced attorney will help you evaluate whether you are prematurely giving up your right to financial support.
Spousal Support Increases
An increase in spousal support will depend on several different factors. For example, the Court will consider whether you contributed to your spouse’s success at work. The Court will also assess your monthly needs and your income. Contact Boros Law Firm, APC today to discuss the facts specific to your case.
Effect of Cohabitation
Spousal support will not automatically terminate unless your court order specifically states it will terminate upon the supported spouse cohabiting with a significant other. If your order does not include that specific language, you may still be able to terminate the support order.
It is important to keep in mind that terminating spousal support under these circumstances creates a rebuttable presumption, not an automatic termination, that spousal support is no longer needed. If the supported spouse can show that they still need support, the court may not terminate the order.
Change of Employment
Spousal support does not automatically terminate if the payor loses their job. This is a common misconception among support payors. If you lose your job or have a decrease in income, you should consider filing a motion to modify the support order immediately. The Court only has the ability to make the modified support retroactive to the date you filed your motion. Thus, if you have a change in income, consult with an attorney about whether other factors have changed and then file your motion to modify, if appropriate.