Certified Family Law Specialist, State Bar of California, and Board of Legal Specialization

Spousal support is the court-ordered obligation of one spouse to financially assist the other either during and/or following a divorce. This type of support aims to enable the lesser earning spouse to maintain a standard of living in line with the couple’s lifestyle during their marriage. If you are divorcing, you should speak with a family law attorney who could help you understand the different types of spousal support you may receive or be required to pay.

Because there are numerous factors a court must consider when determining alimony, it is helpful to work with an experienced Ventura County spousal support lawyer. We could explain how this support is calculated and what events could terminate a support obligation.

Types of Spousal Support

Depending upon the financial resources of the payor and the needs of the receiving spouse, a judge could award different forms of alimony. One of our attorneys in Ventura County could assess an individual’s case and determine what types of spousal support may apply to their situation.

Temporary Support

After a divorce filing, a judge may grant pendente lite (temporary) spousal support. Although there is no deadline for the expiration of this support, it generally ends before a final divorce. Temporary spousal support is paid to maintain the payee’s standard of living while the divorce is pending.

Bridging the Gap

Most spouses are expected to become self-supporting after their divorce. Spousal support could be awarded to bridge the gap between the final divorce and the payee obtaining gainful employment.

Permanent Support

When a judge grants a final divorce, they may award permanent spousal support. This award is based on the factors outlined in California Code, Family Code §4320 including, but not limited to:

  • The extent to which each spouses’ earning capacity is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage
  • The payee’s contributions to the payor’s education, training, license, or career
  • The payor’s ability to pay spousal support and the payee’s needs based on the couple’s standard of living
  • Each party’s assets and liabilities
  • The length of the marriage
  • The ability of the payee to maintain employment without interfering with the needs of dependent children
  • Each party’s age and health
  • Any domestic violence between the parties

Permanent support gives the payee sufficient income to meet their basic needs and maintain a particular lifestyle. The payor spouse can pay the support monthly or in a lump-sum.

It is important to note that the spouses may agree to waive alimony under certain conditions. A waiver should be in writing, with both spouses acknowledging that they understand their right to seek alimony and are voluntarily waiving that right. A lawyer in Ventura County could draft a legally binding waiver for spousal support.

The Duration of Alimony in Ventura County

How long this financial support lasts depends on the length of the couple’s marriage and the time needed for the parties to transition from married life to being single and self-supporting. For marriages of less than ten years, spousal maintenance is generally paid for a time comparable to one-half the marriage length.

For marriages longer than ten years, the payee may receive spousal support for as long as they need it, and the payor can pay it. These payments can assist a spouse who cannot support themselves due to age or disability. A Ventura County attorney could determine the type and duration of spousal maintenance that might be granted in a case.

Alternatively, spousal support generally ends when either party dies or if the receiving party remarries. If a payee spouse cohabits with someone, there may be a reduced need for spousal support. If circumstances change significantly during the support period, either party may request a modification or termination of the support.

Call a Ventura County Spousal Support Attorney

If you want to know whether you qualify for alimony, or your financial situation has changed and you want to revisit an existing support order, a Ventura County spousal support lawyer could help. Our firm has the experience and knowledge to assess your eligibility, apply the statutory factors, and recommend an appropriate award. For more information, call us and schedule a consultation today.

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