Spousal support/domestic partner support

Spousal or partner support issues can be tricky, especially because tax considerations. A Westlake Village divorce lawyer can advise you of whether you or your spouse will likely be awarded or required to pay support and can help you work out an agreement and understand the tax consequences.

When spouses divorce or legally separate or when domestic partners dissolve their partnership, the court may order one party to pay monthly support to the other or the parties may agree that one will pay support to the other. The purpose of support is to help the lower income spouse or partner to maintain his or her standard of living and to become self-supporting within a reasonable time, if possible.

Factors considered by the court

In ordering California spousal support or partner support, the court is required to consider:

  • Whether the amount each party is capable of earning will permit both to maintain the standard of living they had while together.
  • How much the supported party contributed to the supporting party’s education, training, career, or license.
  • The supporting party’s ability to pay support.
  • Each party’s needs based on their standard of living during the marriage or partnership.
  • Each party’s obligations and assets, including separate property.
  • The length of the marriage or partnership.
  • Whether the supported party can work if he or she also has custody of children.
  • The age and health of both parties.
  • Documented evidence of domestic violence.
  • The tax consequences of support to each party.
  • The balance of the hardships to each party.
  • The goal for the supported party to be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time.

In addition to these, the court may consider any other factors the judge determines are just and equitable. A Westlake Village divorce lawyer can advise you on what these other factors might be.

Each party’s ability to maintain the standard of living

In considering whether what each party can earn is enough to maintain their standard of living, the court takes all of the following into account:

  • The marketable skills of the supported party.
  • The job market for those skills.
  • The time and expenses for the supported party to get education or training to develop those skills.
  • The need of the supported party for retraining or additional education.
  • How much the supported party’s earning ability is impaired by periods of unemployment during the marriage or partnership so that he or she could devote time to domestic duties.

Length of marriage and duration of support

A Westlake Village divorce lawyer will tell you that the duration of spousal support is linked to the length of the marriage or partnership. A goal of spousal support is to help the supported party be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. Except in the case of a “marriage of long duration,” a “reasonable period of time” is usually one-half the length of the marriage, which is often how long a court will order spousal support for. However, the court has discretion to order one spouse or partner to pay the other support for a greater or lesser length of time, based on any of the other factors the court is required to consider and the circumstances of the parties.

If the marriage is “of long duration,” typically one lasting 10 years or more, the court may or may not fix a specific end date and the support obligation may continue until the death of one party or the remarriage of the supported spouse.

Tenacious Westlake Village divorce lawyer offers assistance with your divorce, dissolution, or legal separation

If you have questions or about spousal support or domestic partner support and would like to schedule a preliminary conference with me, please complete the case submission form at the top of this page, and I will respond promptly. Or you may contact me.

Gary Mitchell, Attorney at Law
Westlake Village Divorce Lawyer

4195 East Thousand Oaks Blvd Suite 240
Westlake Village, California 91362

Westlake Village divorce lawyer

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