How is spousal support calculated in California?

In divorce cases that are litigated, courts may establish both temporary and permanent spousal support. Each is determined differently.

With temporary spousal support, judges typically use a formula to calculate the amount of support you or your spouse pays. Some judges will use slightly different factors to arrive at this amount, however. As California spousal support experts, Hosford & Hosford can prepare you for what to expect in your court of jurisdiction.

Permanent spousal support usually does not follow a formula. Instead, the judge considers a variety of factors outlined in California Family Code section 4320. These include:

  • The duration of your marriage.
  • The standard of living each person enjoyed during the marriage.
  • The ability of each person to pay for this standard of living.
  • The age and health of you and your spouse.
  • The marketable employment skills each of you possesses.
  • Your debts and property (joint and individual).
  • Your responsibilities in caring for your children.
  • The balance of hardships for each party.

The court can consider many other factors that it deems “just and equitable,” including criminal behavior and domestic violence.

As designed, the court’s goal is for the supported party to become self-supporting within a “reasonable period of time.” If you and your spouse were married for longer than 10 years, the court may order that spousal support must be paid until the other party gets remarried, one of the parties dies, or subsequent modification. If you had a shorter marriage, spousal support may only last as long as the marriage did but is often for a much shorter period.

Negotiation is often a clearer path to receiving or shielding yourself from spousal support payments. Typically, Hosford & Hosford seeks a resolution between you and your spouse to avoid a lengthy courtroom showdown and to achieve the swiftest and most predictable solution. In cases in which spousal support has already been established, our firm may be able to assist you if you are unsatisfied with the judge’s decision or the amount you are paying.

Find out what to expect in your case with spousal support. Contact Hosford & Hosford at (805) 439-1906 or toll-free at (855) 675-4496.