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How is spousal support determined in California?

Determining what must be paid in spousal support is one of the main factors in a lot of California divorce cases. How is the judge going to decide what needs to be paid out?

First, the judge is going to look at a number of key factors. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

— How long the marriage lasted– What standard of living the couple had and how much money is required to maintain that– How much each party is able to pay toward this standard of living— If the individuals are able to work and take care of children at once, or if doing both would be too difficult– The health of both spouses, along with their ages– What debts they have and what property they own– What assistance one spouse gave the other regarding education and career growth– If there was ever violence during the marriage

As noted, the judge has to see what each party can earn and contribute, and this includes looking at the ability each has to get and keep a job. Key factors in this decision include:

— What skills each person has– What the job market looks like for people with those skills– How long it will take for one person to get training or education so as to seek a new job, and how much that will cost– How much the earning capacity of one spouse was impaired by the marriage

Alimony can be complex, and it’s important to understand the legal process behind determining payments.

Source: California Courts: The Judicial Branch of California, “Spousal/Partner Support,” accessed June 26, 2015

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