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  • Writer's pictureBroaden Law LLP

Understanding Spousal Support Law in California

Spousal support is one of the most complicated legal issues in family law cases. In addition to the stress of separation itself, figuring out which party is going to pay money to or receive money from an ex-spouse can be quite complex. The amount of spousal support is not just calculated based on hard and fast rules, but a variety of factors play into it.

Are you on the verge of separation from your spouse and want to know what kind of support you will have to give to or take from them? Read on to learn more about spousal support in California.

How Much Spousal Support Will You Get? 

The amount of spousal support you receive will depend on your case’s circumstances and facts. If you request spousal support while the divorce is still pending, you are asking for temporary spousal support.

California law follows specific guidelines to determine spousal support. They calculate the spousal support’s amount and duration by evaluating the supported spouse’s need for spousal support and the supporting spouse’s ability to pay.

Here are some factors that a California court may consider when calculating permanent spousal support, after the divorce or legal separation judgment is final:

  1. Each spouse’s need for spousal support, depending on the marital living standards

  2. Each spouse’s income and earning capabilities

  3. The extent to which the supported party’s present or future earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment

  4. Each spouse’s health and age

  5. Each spouse’s assets and liabilities

  6. The supporting spouse’s paying abilities

  7. Marriage duration

  8. Balance of hardships to the parties

The court may issue a spousal support order if a spouse requires financial support and if the other spouse can provide it. 

How Long Will You Have to Pay Spousal Support?

The duration of spousal support depends on a wide range of factors. In long term marriages the court retains jurisdiction forever to order spousal support if marriages last over ten years unless both parties agree that the court need not retain the power. A rebuttable presumption exist that spousal support has to be paid for one- half of the total duration of marriage if it is less than 10 years. For instance, if your marriage was for six years, in duration you would likely pay support for 3 years. 

Is Spousal Support Taxable?

Spousal support may be taxable earnings to the receiver and tax-deductible to the payer for state tax purposes. Spousal support is no longer deductible for federal tax purposes. 

So, these are some of the important things you should know about spousal support in California. You can reach out to Broaden Law LLP anytime for legal advice. We are a woman-owned and operated boutique law firm that represents individuals, families, small business owners, and nonprofit boards. Contact us right away to know more about spousal support. 



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