Spousal Support

Spousal Support Sometimes referred to Partner Support or Alimony is money paid by one spouse to the other after a couple legally separates.

Spousal support can be a legally difficult issue and you should consult with a lawyer or Family Law Facilitator (Self Help Center).

In order for spousal support to start one party must initiate a court action. Either, Divorce, Legal Separation, annulment, or Domestic Violence Restraining Order.

The court generally uses a formula in calculating temporary spousal support. The factors the court will consider can vary in different counties.

The formula may not be used by the court in determining permanent spousal support. The Court must consider the factors in California Family Code section 4320.

In order to change the amount of spousal support you are paying or receiving you will need to seek a modification from the court. You will need to show a `change in circumstances,"meaning something significant has changes since the spousal support order was made. You will continue to owe the amount currently ordered until the order is modified. It is important to seek a modification promptly so that you do not accrue arrears and subject yourself to a contempt action.

A spousal support obligation can end by court order, death of a spouse, or if the payee remarries or registers a new domestic partnership.

A marriage of long duration is considered to be ten years or more. Generally, a marriage of less than 10 years exposes a payor spouse to an obligation to pay support for half the length of the marriage. The court may set a termination date on a short term marriage. The length of the marriage will affect the amount of spousal support. The court will not set a termination of support on a long term marriage. Couples may stipulate to a termination date, or even a waiver of support. However, you should consult with an attorney before you waive spousal support.