Spousal Support/Alimony

One party may be entitled to SPOUSAL SUPPORT, following separation or divorce. The court determines who receives spousal support and how much. There is no state-wide formula as there is with calculating child support. Each county has its own method of calculating spousal support.

According to California Family Code Section 4320, a judge must consider the following factors when issuing the final judgment for support/alimony:

  • Each person’s needs
  • Each person’s earnings, earning capacity, and what s/he is able to pay
  • The length of the marriage or domestic partnership
  • The age and mental and physical well-being of each party
  • Property owned and debts owed
  • The needs of any minor children
  • Any history of domestic violence in the relationship
  • Whether the career of one partner or spouse has been affected by having to stay at home with the children
  • The contributions of one spouse in helping the other build a career
  • Each person’s history of managing money during the marriage or domestic partnership

Once the judge issues the final judgment for support, monthly payments can continue until:

  • One of the spouses or partners becomes deceased
  • The person obtaining support remarries or files for domestic partnership with a new partner
  • A judgment or court order terminates the support

Should the circumstances of either party change after the judgment, a request may be made to modify support. A judge would review that same factors listed above.

If the former spouse is not paying court order spousal support, the receiving spouse can file for contempt of a court order.