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When a couple in a marriage or domestic partnership decides to divorce or legally separate, they must navigate a wide variety of difficult issues. While the most well-known divorce issues include property division, child custody, and child support, spousal support is often the largest financial obligation after a divorce. Also known as maintenance or alimony, spousal support refers to payments, assets, or money transferred from one spouse to another following a divorce. These payments are meant to maintain the same standard of living the former spouse experienced during the marriage.

Misconceptions exist around separations requiring spousal support, yet statistics show that a moderate percentage of divorces result in such financial litigation. Learn more about spousal support below, then contact the Pasadena spousal support attorneys at Khalaf Law Group to secure experienced, dedicated legal representation during this challenging time.

Spousal Support Law in California

Laws within the United States seek to secure the standard of living and livelihood of a former spouse after a divorce that maintains what they experienced during the marriage. In the aftermath of a divorce, a spouse who has been absent from the workforce for a substantial period often lacks sufficient skills and vocational training required to acquire a professional position following the divorce. This makes them unable to provide for their needs in the manner they grew accustomed to throughout the duration of the marriage.

Typically, this type of spousal support situation occurs when one party focused their attention on childrearing and homemaking for a significant amount of the time they were married. Their standard of living may become compromised, and they may be unable to obtain adequate pay to support the lifestyle they had previously known. In these cases, when a couple becomes legally separate or divorced, a judge may require one spouse or domestic partner to compensate the other a percentage of their monthly income. This replacement of lost income resulting from the divorce is referred to as “partner support” in domestic partnerships.

Forms of Spousal Support

Spousal support occurs in three primary forms – permanent, temporary, and rehabilitative.

  1. Permanent spousal support. Permanent alimony or spousal support refers to an ongoing payment from one spouse to another for the remainder of the payee’s life or until the receiver enters a marriage with another person. A judge may grant permanent support after confirming that the dependent spouse will not return to the workforce because of illness or advanced age.In cases where the spouse is unable to return to the workforce, they will require indefinite support. Judges most often consider permanent spousal support when the above circumstances are in place and the couple was married for over ten years. In some scenarios, remarriage does not nullify spousal support, such as in a long-term union or in circumstances where the receiver has a severe disability.
  2. Temporary spousal support. Temporary or short-term, spousal support lasts for a specific period. In situations where the divorce causes significant financial distress on one spouse, temporary alimony will be awarded until financial recovery is achieved. A couple undergoing a divorce may seek a temporary spousal support arrangement at any time during the process. This allows a dependent spouse to obtain necessary financial resources without having to wait until the divorce settles.The right to receive support starts the moment the separation is initiated, so it is imperative to avoid delays and begin drafting an agreement immediately. In most cases, a judge will utilize a formula to determine the amount of temporary support that is necessary.
  3. Rehabilitative spousal support. Rehabilitative spousal support refers to cases in which a spouse needs specific assistance with professional training or education so that they may re-enter the job force following the divorce. The recipient is expected to diligently pursue education or training in their targeted trade, then focus their attention on finding work. Financially dependent stay-at-home moms are often the recipients of such rehabilitative spousal support as they go through the process of becoming financially independent.This form of support lasts until the recipient secures employment and typically does not include an end date. If the support provider suspects the recipient has not acted industriously enough in their pursuit of work, they can request the court to reduce the amount of the support or set a date to terminate the support.

In the state of California, some divorcing spouses seek reimbursement support after financing the other’s education or training for career advancement during the marriage. The spouse providing these resources can request the court grant reimbursement support to recover the funds they spent. This concept is based on the idea that when a couple works together to further the education or career of one party, both receive some form of benefit because of this advancement. When a couple separates, only the spouse who received the assistance will benefit, giving the financing spouse cause to contact a Pasadena spousal support attorney.

How Judges Determine Spousal Support

In California, the court employs state laws to determine the type, amount, duration, and specific terms of spousal support by carefully reviewing a range of factors. The three primary factors a judge will use to determine spousal support include:

  • Standard of living and earning capacity
  • Length of the marriage or partnership
  • Whether a history of domestic violence exists in the relationship

In marriages lasting for less than ten years, the dependent spouse will receive spousal support for a period equaling half the length of the marriage. In marriages lasting over ten years, the court will not stipulate the duration of the support. Ending the support requires the payer to convince the court that such support has become no longer necessary.

Contact Khalaf Law Today to Discuss Your Spousal Support Options

Retaining the support of a skilled Pasadena spousal support lawyer is necessary to ensure you know exactly what you owe and what you are due in a divorce situation. At Khalaf Law Group, our team of dedicated attorneys will assist you in the process of understanding your rights, calculating the appropriate amount of spousal support to either pay or receive, handling tax issues, and preparing all necessary court forms. To secure world-class legal representation from our expert Pasadena family law attorneys, contact us today by calling (626) 507-2534 or submitting the form on our website.

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