Spousal Support

During divorce proceedings a court may award spousal support to one of the parties.  The purpose of spousal support is not to provide for any economic effects of the divorce by continuing to pay income to the individual who either does not have a job nor has a lower-paying one.

Unlike child support, spousal support is not always awarded.  The courts use The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act to determine the amount of support to be awarded, if it should be awarded, and if so, for how long.  The following factors are considered:

  • Former spouse – age, physical and emotional state, financial situation
  • How long will it take the individual to become self-sufficient?
  • How long was the couple married?
  • Will the payer spouse be able to support the recipient and himself or herself?

Spousal support should only be paid until the recipient spouse can become self-supporting. If there is no termination listed on the divorce decree, the payments will continue until the court orders otherwise. Most awards end if the recipient remarries.  Today, it is not always the ex-husband who pays; sometimes the ex-wife must pay the ex-husband.

Courts sometimes award permanent spousal support.  This happens when the spouse cannot become independent or self-supporting.  The most common reason for this is when the recipient has a chronic illness and cannot provide for a reasonable standard of living without this support.  This support will stop if the payer no longer can pay or the recipient’s status changes by remarrying or living with someone.

If you have questions about spousal support, contact an Orange County Family Law attorney who has extensive experience in resolving urgent financial matters – one who can best serve your goals and your personal situation.