Challenges in Determining Spousal Support

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County spousal support; California Divorce MediatorsThe California Family Court uses computer software programs when determining temporary alimony. But when a final decision on the alimony is to be reached, it cannot use these programs any longer. The court then follows California Family Code 4320. It also has to take into consideration a number of factors before making a final decision on the alimony or spousal support to be paid.

The standard of living analysis of a spouse seeking alimony is done by following the sections mentioned in Family Code 4320. Even then, the court has to face quite a few challenges because each case is different from the other.

Standard of living beyond the financial means

If the spouses were used to maintaining a lifestyle that goes well beyond their income, it becomes quite difficult for the court to determine how their standard of living can be maintained. The court could ask the paying spouse to liquidate the assets for paying the alimony. But this could mean putting the payer in debt. So the court would not want to do something like this.

Frugal lifestyle

If the spouses led a very economic lifestyle during their marriage, it becomes quite difficult for the court to determine if they will continue to do so after the divorce. In such a situation, the court will try to determine the amount of alimony in such a way that savings can be made even after the essential expenditures.

Incomplete evidence 

The courts, more often than not, have to face significant challenges in determining alimony because neither of the spouses has provided complete and correct evidences of their incomes and expenditures. Skilful practitioners of family law can help spouses to not make such errors and save the court valuable time.

Time period of long term marriages

Determining alimony in long term marriages is quite difficult. The standard of living and the lifestyle lived changes throughout a long term marriage. Incomes and expenditures change over time. There is no way of determining what the standard of living would be after the divorce. But generally, the court takes into consideration the last 5 years of the marriage.

If you are someone going to file for a divorce, you should consider the issue of alimony whether you are going to pay it or seek it. All decisions should be made after consulting a professional attorney with proven experience in California family law.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation