family law, Legal

What to Know About Spousal Support: Legal Reasons #54

How Long Will I Pay or Receive Spousal Support?

  • The length of spousal support is based on a reasonable transition period from married life to single and self-sufficient life.
  • The duration of support depends on in part on the length of the marriage. For marriages lasting less than ten years, the length of support is presumed to be equal to one-half of the time. For example, for a marriage that lasted eight years, the presumption is that the appropriate length of support is four years.
  • If you are married for longer than 10 years, the lesser earning spouse will receive support for as long as he or she needs to, as long as the other spouse is able to pay. There is no automatic termination date.

How Much Spousal Support Will be Ordered?

  • In California, the Superior Courts of Solano counties have adopted a spousal support guideline called the “Santa Clara Guideline” formula for use in temporary spousal support. Alameda and Contra Costa counties have adopted the “Alameda Guideline” formula. The guideline states that the paying spouse’s support be presumptively 40% of his or her net monthly income, reduced by one-half of the receiving spouse’s net monthly income. If child support is an issue, spousal support is calculated after child support is calculated.
  • Deciding permanent support is a much more detailed process with many factors to be considered. Family Code Section 4320 is the controlling statute that the court must consider in establishing permanent spousal support.

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