Are you in the divorce process and wondering what qualifies you for spousal support in California? Read on to discover what’s involved.

What Are the Requirements for Spousal Support?

To legally establish spousal support, you need file a case:

  • Divorce, legal separation, or annulment
  • A domestic violence restraining order – provided you are married to or in a registered domestic partnership with the restrained person.

How Is Spousal Support Awarded?

First and foremost, the courts will ask:

  1. Does the requesting spouse need spousal support?
  2. Does the payor have sufficient income to afford it?

If both answers are yes, then both parties will need to submit financial information such as their income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. From there, temporary support is calculated using a county-specific formula.

Along with both sets of financials, permanent and rehabilitative support takes into consideration factors including:

  • Current and future earning capacity
  • Age and health
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • Abuse or domestic violence
  • Financial and nonfinancial contributions, such as childcare
  • The balance of hardship
  • Education and ability to earn a living
  • Contributions to the other’s education or career advancement training
  • The duration of the marriage.

The judge will deliberate these factors and use their discretion to decide the length of time the support will last. Spousal support ends with remarriage of the recipient or if either party dies.

Can Spousal Support be Modified?

What if an ex-spouse has a considerable drop in income and can’t afford the alimony payments anymore? Or perhaps the recipient spouse no longer needs the spousal support payments. Can spousal support be modified in California?

Except if you and your spouse have signed a written proviso that precludes future changes, California Family Code Sections 3603, 3651(c), and 4333 authorizes the court to modify both permanent spousal support and temporary spousal support orders.

While either of the parties may request the court to modify the support court order, the burden of proof of a significant material change of circumstances lies with the requesting spouse.

Then there are numerous factors the court must consider when determining changes in circumstances – from the length of the marriage and a party’s age and health to the supported ex’s commitment to becoming self-supporting, a history of marital misconduct, and other “just and equitable” factors.

Get in touch with Westover Law Group to nail down what qualifies you for spousal support in California and the best legal strategy for you. Our family law attorneys serve Riverside, San Diego, and San Bernardino counties for all of your divorce, custody, spousal support, and appeals case needs.