Spousal support, also known as alimony, is an amount that one spouse is ordered to pay another spouse in a divorce or legal separation. Unlike with child support, the law does not recognize a legal obligation for one spouse to support another, and spousal support is not awarded in every case. Also, whereas child support lasts until a minor child reaches the age of majority, spousal support is not intended to last. Rather, the intention is that both spouses become self-supporting, and spousal support is only to be maintained as long as necessary. A spousal support order may have a definite ending date, or it may be terminated on the death or remarriage of the spouse receiving support.
Factors Courts Consider
There is no precise guideline or formula for calculating spousal support like there is with child support. The court looks at a variety of factors, including:
• Length of the marriage
• Age and health of the respective spouses
• Earning capacity of each spouse
• The needs of each spouse
• Expenses related to custody of the children (when there are minor children)
Sometimes, the needs of the children may prevent the parent with primary custody from working. Also, one spouse may have paid for the education of the other spouse, or may have stayed home to raise the children and is therefore not readily employable in the workforce. All of these factors are taken into consideration by the court in determining whether to order spousal support, and, if so, how much to order.
Spousal Support Issues Require Experienced Legal Counsel
Spousal support can be a complex legal issue, and often include tax implications for the payor and receiver. If you are concerned whether spousal support would be ordered in your instance, how much it could be and for how long it may last, and how it would affect your taxes, contact Mr. Hinden at 805-739-9201 for a confidential consultation.
John E. Hinden, Attorney 2222 S. Broadway, Ste. C Santa Maria, CA 93454