Temporary vs. Permanent Spousal Support

When a couple legally separates or divorces, the court may order one spouse to pay the other a certain amount of support money each month for the purpose of maintaining the former spouse at a standard of living similar to that enjoyed during the marriage. Spousal support is the term used for such payments. In a California Divorce, there are two types of support, temporary spousal support and permanent spousal support.

Temporary spousal support is awarded to a spouse while a divorce is pending. It is often awarded when one spouse is unemployed or earning significantly less than the other spouse. The court may order payment of temporary spousal support consistent with the requirements consistent of subdivisions (i) and (m) of Section 4320 and Section 4325. Such temporary support is generally calculated using the Dissomaster support calculator and is determined much in the same way as child support in California.

Permanent spousal support is most accurately referred to as post-divorce judgment support. It is a much more detailed process with many factors to be considered. These factors include;

  • Extent to which each party’s earning capacity is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage
  • Contributions of the supported party to the paying party’s education, training, career position, or professional license
  • Ability of the supporting party to pay spousal supporting
  • Needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage
  • Obligations and asset, including separate property, of each party
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without interfering with the interests of dependent children
  • Age and health of the parties
  • History of domestic violence between the parties
  • Immediate and specific tax consequences to each party
  • Balance of the hardships to each party
  • Goal that the supported party become self-supporting within a reasonable amount of time ( usually one-half the length of the marriage)
  • Criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
  • Other factors the court deems just and equitable

In cases where neither party needs spousal support at the time, the Court may reserve jurisdiction to order spousal support in the future in the event of serious illness, disability, loss of employment or any other such changes.

The Internal Revenue Code provides that all spousal support payments are tax deductible by the paying spouse and taxable to the recipient spouse as “ordinary income.”

San Diego divorce lawyer Shana Black represents San Diego divorcing couples and their families throughout the divorce process. Call 1-619-557-0122 or email [email protected] to learn more about all of your San Diego divorce options.

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