Understanding spousal support

Couples getting ready to work through the divorce process may be wondering what each is going to walk away with. One of the things often up for discussion is spousal support, or alimony, which is often paid by one spouse to the other. It’s not something offered in every divorce case in San Francisco, and the court will look at certain factors before granting an order of support. 

Important questions to ask 

Each spouse should find the answers to some pertinent questions. What are the factors that determine spousal support? If an order is issued, how long will it last? Can a spousal support order ever be changed? The spouse requesting support must have a good reason or a need for seeking support. Before approving or denying a request, a family court judge will evaluate the following and more: 

  • The age of both spouses 
  • Length of the marriage 
  • Income of both spouses 
  • Ability of potential payor to pay 
  • Standard of living within the marriage 

Types of orders 

California offers various types of spousal support: temporary, rehabilitative, permanent, reimbursement and lump sum. They are intended for different cases and can last for a specified amount of time or indefinitely. A lump sum is exactly that — a payor can pay the full amount of the support order upfront rather than monthly. Spousal support orders may qualify for modifications should circumstances change, but requests must also go through the court and be formally approved. 

Seeking help & support 

Whether a San Francisco resident is seeking spousal support, is concerned about paying it or would like an adjustment to a current order, he or she does not have to wade through the issues alone. With the right independent legal help, a support order can be fashioned that best suits one’s individual situation.