If you and your spouse are divorcing, you may worry about maintaining your lifestyle. Even if you have a job, you may be unable to afford the family home and the associated costs.
In some cases like this, California family court judges will order one spouse to pay spousal support, commonly called alimony. These are the relevant state laws you should know if you plan to seek spousal support.
Requesting spousal support
You can ask for alimony in your California divorce petition. A spouse can request temporary support, paid while the divorce case is pending, and permanent support, paid for a specified amount of time after the divorce.
Spousal support ensures that the person who earns less money will be able to support himself or herself within a reasonable number of years. The judge often establishes this as half the length of the marriage, but he or she has discretion based on the factors of your case.
Understanding alimony calculations
Each county has its own rules for calculating temporary support. For example, in Los Angeles County, temporary support equals 40% of the higher earning spouse’s net income minus any child support expenses minus 50% of the lower-earning spouse’s net income. If you earn $2,500 a month and your spouse earns $8,000 a month but pays $1,000 in child support, you would receive temporary spousal support of $950 a month.
Permanent support does not follow this formula, however. The judge considers how long the marriage lasted, what each spouse’s current earnings and future earning capacity are, the family’s current standard of living, the age and health of both spouses, whether domestic violence occurred, whether one parent left work to care for minor children and if one spouse helped another seek professional training or education.
Providing detailed information will help facilitate your request for spousal support. This includes financial data as well as evidence relating to the determining factors described above.