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Spousal Support Factors

Spousal support may be ordered if The Court deems it appropriate. In making spousal support orders, The Court has the ability to make spousal support orders on a temporary basis and then on a permanent basis. On a temporary basis, the court may simply look at the current incomes of each party. However, on a permanent basis, the court will consider the factors set forth in Family Code Section 4320 which states that in ordering spousal support under this part, the court shall consider all of the following circumstances:

Earning Capacity: The marketable skills of the supported party; the job market for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire other, more marketable skills or employment. The extent to which the supported party's present or future earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment that were incurred during the marriage to permit the supported party to devote time to domestic duties. The court will look at prior employment, prior education, and recent job offers. The more information provided about both you and your spouses current income, work history, educational history, and vocational training, the better able The Court will be able to make a more informed decision.

Contribution to Education and Career: The extent to which one party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the other party. If one spouse worked to put the other through school or moved frequently to support the other's career, these factors will be considered in The Court's decision.

Ability to Pay: The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party's earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living. When looking to the ability to pay, The Court will look at the assets and obligations, including separate property, of each party. Be specific in listing the assets that the other party has in their possession.

Need: The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage. Again, The Court will look at the assets and obligations of each party. If the party requesting support has a greater income than expenses listed, The Court can determine that no support is necessary. Therefore, it is important to list all expenses and the standard of living during the marriage. It is important that you provide our office will as much information as possible about your life and lifestyle during your marriage.

Length of Marriage: The duration your marriage is considered in determining spousal support. The longer your marriage, the more likely The Court is to consider spousal support for a longer period of time.

Minor Children: The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party.

Age and Heath: The Court will consider the age and health of each party. If either you or your spouse have special health considerations, it is very important that the Court be aware of these facts.

Domestic Violence: Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence, between the parties, including, but not limited to, consideration of emotional distress resulting from domestic violence perpetrated against the supported party by the supporting party, and consideration of any history of violence against the supporting party by the supported party. The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award.

Tax Consequences: The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party.

Gavron Warning: The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. Except in the case of a marriage of long duration, a "reasonable period of time" generally shall be one-half the length of the marriage. However, the court has discretion to order support for a greater or lesser length of time, based on any of the other factors.

Termination of Support: In a permanent order for spousal support, The Court has several options. All spousal support orders will terminate upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the supported party. The Court may order support at a higher level and then gradually step-down the support. The Court may "reserve jurisdiction" over spousal support which means that they are not making an order for support at this time but reserve the right to make support orders at a later date.

At the Riverside, CA law offices of Bratton & Bratton, we represent clients in Riverside California, including Arlington, Corona, Corona Hills, Glen Avon, Highgrove, Home Gardens, La Sierra, Mira Loma, Moreno Valley, Pedley, Rubidoux, Temescal Canyon, and Riverside County.