Spousal support can be a contentious issue in a California divorce. Many factors are considered if one spouse is requesting it and the other spouse is disputing how much he or she should pay. While income, savings, education and whether there are children are factors to consider, one understated part of the determination is the length of the marriage itself. Understanding how the court will use the marriage’s duration when deciding on spousal support is a fundamental part of a case. As with any family law matter, it is wise to have legal assistance from the start regardless of the perspective.
The link between a marriage’s duration and spousal support
In general, the idea behind spousal support is to provide for the receiving spouse until he or she is capable of self-support within a reasonable amount of time. That could be impacted by how long the couple was married and if the person who is seeking support was out of the job market for an extended time. With that, it could take longer to accrue education and skills to find suitable employment so the support is no longer necessary. The law requires that support be paid for a “reasonable” amount of time and that could be defined as half the length of the marriage. Still, the court can adjust the duration as needed.
The circumstances are a critical factor in the court’s determination as to the length of the spousal support. An exception is if there was a long marriage that lasted for at least 10 years. If it was a long marriage, the judge might be inclined not to specify an end date for the support. The length is calculated from the time the couple got married to when they separated. For couples who are not yet separated, it is useful to remember the specific date as this may be important when the support order is made. If the parties had separations and reconciliations during the marriage and before they finally divorced, this too can be considered by the court in the spousal support award.
Having experienced legal representation may be key with spousal support
For couples who are divorcing and disagree about spousal support and its duration, legal help can be a vital part of effectively dealing with the case. It might be possible to negotiated a reasonable settlement without a court decision. Or the sides could benefit from having an advocate present their side in an evenhanded way to achieve a favorable outcome. Calling a firm with experience in all areas of family law can provide guidance and assistance in how to proceed.