How Do Courts Calculate Spousal Support In California?

spousal-support-in-californiaWhether you’re being asked to pay spousal support or seeking to request payments from your spouse, it’s important to know how the court will calculate your spousal support in California. Due to the number of factors that come into play, the amount tends to vary greatly from case to case. Get an idea of what you could be paying, or how much you should ask for, by gaining a deeper understanding of how the courts decide spousal support in California. 


Laws for Spousal Support In California

For the most part, the financial nature of spousal support payments makes it a sensitive and contentious factor to agree upon. In California, spousal support isn’t necessarily present in every divorce, though it’s extremely common and is granted upon the finalization of a divorce. 

You can also ask the court for temporary spousal support if financial assistance is required during the divorce process, which we’ll touch on later. Due to the delicacy of spousal support disagreements, you should be sure to understand the factors considered when determining spousal support in California. 


Factors Considered In Court

Although a spousal support arrangement can be made through a series of meditation sessions with a divorce expert, many cases are decided in court. If you take your spousal support conflict to court, they will take a number of factors into account before making a final decision. This means that spousal support payment amounts vary from case to case depending on income levels and the needs involved. 

In a spousal support case, California courts will take these factors into account:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The standard of living throughout the marriage
  • The income of each partner
  • Whether or not spouses stay home to care for children
  • Each spouse’s mental and physical health
  • Debts and properties during the marriage
  • Whether the marriage entailed some form of domestic abuse
  • The tax impact of spousal support

On top of these elements, the court will note whether or not a parent’s employability has been impacted by the marriage. An example is a spouse who stayed home for childcare, and is now having a tough time returning to work after the divorce – warranting need for financial support. The division of marital property can also influence how much spousal support is awarded.


Obstacles to Spousal Support Agreements

However, spousal support in California has its hurdles. It’s notoriously difficult to mediate due to its delicate and contentious nature – while the payor wants to pay less, the receiver almost always wants more. Additionally, courts will determine your spousal support based on an extremely subjective analysis of need and income. Due to the subjectivity of the analysis, different judges will likely make different determinations. This is why selecting an expert mediator is so important when coming to a spousal support agreement.

If you’re having trouble coming to a spousal support agreement with your spouse, it could be time to consult a Mission Viejo divorce attorney for a settlement outside of court. At The Law Offices of Jennifer Owens, we harbor the expertise to land on the most mutually beneficial agreement for you, your spouse, and any children involved.


Sort Out Your Spousal Support with a Mission Viejo Divorce Attorney

Divorce is an emotional journey to endure. On top of the bitterness and anger which often result from a formal separation, the subsequent legal battles tend to make the whole process even more painful. At the Law Offices of Jennifer Owens, we revel in the power of choice. When spouses face divorce, they’re presented with a slew of decisions with a handful of potential outcomes. Our attorneys are believers in the best possible outcome, where a former couple chooses peace over destruction, so that they can finally move onto their next chapter. We can help with that. No matter your desired path – mediation, a negotiated settlement, or even litigation – The Law Offices of Jennifer Owens will achieve the best possible outcome by reaching a settlement that keeps all involved parties in mind. Visit our website to review our family law services or contact us online for a free consultation

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