Spousal Support Lawyers in Carlsbad
Helping Clients with Alimony Cases in North County & All of San Diego County
Do you need legal counsel for a spousal support matter? Turn to the trusted team at Griffith, Young & Lass! Each of our partners is a Certified Family Law Specialists (CFLS), giving our team a reputation as leaders in family law. We are familiar with the law and the courts to such a degree that we are able to give our clients a strong sense of calm and confidence throughout the course of their case.
Whether you are seeking spousal support or being required to pay it, our Carlsbad spousal support attorneys know the law and can fight for a support order that is fair. Get in touch today to find out what we can do for you!
What Is the Purpose of Spousal Support?
Spousal support is financial assistance that recognizes a partner’s contribution to the marriage and helps the recipient achieve financial independence. As the divorce proceedings occur, the partner who will be the recipient of spousal support needs to keep in mind that the support is not forever. A judge will consider the marketable skills the recipient possesses to come to reach a place with higher earning potential.
Attorney John Griffith advises his clients who are receiving spousal support to develop a plan, set goals, and work diligently toward achieving those goals.
“This will show the court that you take your obligation to work toward becoming self-supporting seriously,” Griffith said. “It will also give you a sense of fulfillment and purpose.”
Types of Spousal Support (Temporary and Permanent)
There are two types of Spousal Support orders made by San Diego family law judges in divorce cases; Temporary or “Pendente Lite” orders and Permanent orders.
- Temporary Spousal Support: Upon the initiation of a petition for divorce, and prior to either a marital settlement agreement or final judgment of divorce, should one party request an order for spousal support, the family court judge will consider issuing such an order if there is a legitimate need for the order (considering the circumstances of the parties at the time of separation, i.e. the status quo). Generally, the court will make an order sufficiently ensuring that the status quo is maintained such that the supported spouse may continue to live as close to the marital standard as possible, so long as the supporting spouse has the ability to contribute.
- Permanent Spousal Support: Permanent Spousal Support is the spousal support order made by the court either through the incorporation of a marital settlement agreement or a final judgment of divorce after trial. Permanent Spousal Support is almost always considerably less than the temporary order, especially in cases of short-term marriages and cases wherein a large amount of assets are divided. This is because, when making the permanent order, the family law court judge will review a number of factors, including the earning ability of the supported spouse.
Alimony in California for Long-Term Marriage
There is a well-circulated myth that “if a marriage lasts longer than 10 years in California, you’ll have to pay alimony forever!” This simply is not true.
The law in CA states that marriages that end in divorce after 10 years or more are considered “long-term marriage.” The court will retain alimony jurisdiction permanently in the case of long-term marriage divorce. For example, if the judge orders spousal support be paid for 6 years, the other party can request renewal of alimony and petition for another alimony order. The courts can also order retroactive spousal support in some cases.
Short-Term Marriage Divorce & Alimony in CA
The state of California considers a marriage that lasted less than 10 years a ” short-term marriage.” Short-term marriage has different rules for spousal support than longer marriages. Typically, the judge will order alimony be paid for no longer than half of the length of the marriage. So, if you were marriage for a total of 6 years, the judge will not order alimony for longer than 3 years max.
If you have questions about your spousal support order and you feel that legal intervention is needed to ensure that the amount is fair, contact Griffith, Young & Lass online or by dialing 858-951-1526.
Duration of Spousal Support Orders
With respect to the duration of a spousal support order, there are two categories of marriage: long-term and short-term. According to California divorce law, a long-term marriage is a marriage that lasts for at least 10 years. A short-term marriage is a marriage that lasts for less than ten years. The length of marriage is measured from the date of marriage to the date of separation.
The general rule followed by San Diego Divorce Courts is that the duration of spousal support in a short-term marriage should be 1/2 the term of the marriage. So, in a situation wherein a couple was married for 5 years, the length of the spousal support obligation should be 2.5 years, at most. Keep in mind that this is a guideline and exceptions can be made in rare circumstances.
When it comes to a marriage of long duration, the family law court will not order a termination date for spousal support. In essence, the duration is indefinite. The supporting spouse, if seeking a reduction or termination in permanent spousal support in a long-term marriage has the affirmative obligation to seek a modification and/or termination of the support obligation or it will never change.
Spousal Support Factors
When considering the proper amount of a permanent spousal support order, a San Diego family law judge must consider what family lawyers call “4320 factors.” The “4320 factors” are a list of 14 factors codified in California Family Code Section 4320.
These factors include considerations of the following:
- The length of the marriage;
- The health and age of each party;
- Each party’s respective earning capacity considering skills, education,
and periods of unemployment due to child rearing;
- Contributions to the education of either party during the marriage;
- Any recorded domestic violence;
- Tax consequences;
- The needs of each party and the ability of the supporting spouse to contribute
to the support of the other spouse.
The overarching consideration when making an order for spousal support is the consideration that the supported spouse shall become self-supporting within a reasonable time. The court will consider whether or not the party seeking support has taken reasonable measures to become self-supporting.
Permanent Spousal Support orders can be modified. Call now to speak with an experienced Carlsbad spousal support attorney from our team.
Spousal Support FAQ
What is the amount of spousal support based on?
In making an order, the family court will consider several factors, including the earning abilities of each party, the amount of assets and debts each party is assigned upon the divorce, as well as the age, health and education level of each party. Most importantly, the court will consider the need of the party requesting spousal support and the ability of the supporting spouse to pay it.
Can I file a motion after my divorce to terminate spousal support?
Yes. Any time circumstances change, you can file a motion to modify or terminate spousal support. It is the responsibility of the party seeking the modification to file a motion absent the written agreement of the parties. If a motion is not filed, then the Court lacks jurisdiction to modify spousal support further back from the date the motion is filed. If you are considering requesting a reduction or increase in support, the time to act is now.
What if my ex-spouse moves in with someone else?
California law provides that a supported spouse cohabiting with a member of the opposite sex has a presumed decrease in the need for financial support from his/her ex-spouse. However, the burden is first placed on the payer of spousal support to establish that the cohabitation is with a romantic partner.