Generally, so long as a husband and wife are living together, there is a mutual duty of support. The duty of support continues independently of the marital estate or financial circumstances. However, a spousal support award is not mandatory in dissolution proceedings. Courts have the discretion to award or deny spousal support based on both parties needs and ability to pay.
There are two phases in which spousal support may be requested. The first is for temporary spousal support, and may be awarded in an effort to maintain the status quo during marriage. The second is for permanent spousal support, and is used to aid the other party financially for a reasonable amount of time, usually until the supported party can become “self-sufficient.”
When awarding permanent spousal support, the court will consider factors under Family Code §4320. Factors include, but are not limited to: 1) the marital standard of living during marriage, 2) earning capacity, 3) supporting spouse’s ability to pay, 4) needs of each party based on standard of living during marriage, 5) ability to earn an income without interfering with the interests of dependent children, 6) the age and health of the parties, 7) history of domestic violence, 8) immediate and specific tax consequences, 9) hardships of each party, 10) the goal of the supported party to become self-sufficient within a reasonable amount of time, and 11) any other factors the court deems just and reasonable. Family Code §4320; In re Marriage of Cheriton; In re Marriage of Smith.
Our firm is dedicated to helping people obtain, modify, and enforce spousal support orders. We have over 25 years of practice in the area of family law and spousal support matters. We serve all of Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles counties. Please contact us for a free consultation or call us at 951-683-2297.
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