In the State of California and based upon several factors enumerated in the California Family Code, the court has the authority to order spousal support payable by one party to the other. Though spousal support is the technical designation, it is also known as alimony and marital support.
Unlike child support, spousal support is not determined by using a formula. It is within the discretion of the court to order spousal support based upon the criteria set forth in the Family Code, which includes but is not limited to, the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, the size of the estate to be divided, and the actual and potential income of the respective parties based upon the assets awarded to them, as well as their ability to earn an income utilizing their own skills and efforts.
The amount of spousal support is not open-ended. The court only has the authority to order spousal support sufficient to allow the supported party to live at the marital standard of living.
Spousal support is one of the most litigated issues due to the fact that there are several components and several arguments that greatly affect the amount of spousal support to be paid by one party to the other.
Under the California Family Code the court is mandated to maintain jurisdiction to order spousal support payable by either party to the other until the death of either party or the remarriage of the supported party in marriages of long duration (over ten years). With regard to short term marriages (under ten years), it is the goal of the state that the supported party be self-supporting within a time period which is one-half the duration of the marriage.
There are several controlling cases and several Family Code sections that affect the court’s decision with regard to spousal support. At Castle & Monarch we remain current in all areas of the law, and we consistently either negotiate and/or litigate the best possible outcomes for our clients.