Spousal Support & Alimony -
What the Courts Consider & Why
Contributed by: Farzad
Family Law, APC
purpose of this article is to help you understand what
facts and information the court considers before awarding
one spouse temporary spousal support or alimony in a
divorce action. Temporary spousal support is support
spouse often asks the other spouse for temporary spousal
support (also called alimony) while the divorce action
is pending. However, temporary spousal support is not
automatic. If you are the party seeking it, you must
first understand what facts and information the court
needs to award spousal support.
a marital dissolution proceeding, the court may order
either spouse "to pay any amount that is necessary for
the support" of the other spouse.
court generally may order temporary (also called "pendente
lite" for those of you who like latin) spousal support
in "any amount" on the basis of the party's need and
the other party's ability to pay. That is because temporary
spousal support "is utilized to maintain the living
conditions and standards of the parties in as close
to the status quo position as possible pending trial
and the division of their assets and obligations."
key is: Maintaining the "status quo".
court uses the marital lifestyle as a benchmark for
temporary spousal support orders. While most courts
recognize that the cost of running two households is
greater than the cost of running one, and may modify
spousal support awards accordingly, it is rare that
a court denies the lower earner spouse spousal support
if the support is necessary to maintain the status quo
to which he or she became accustomed during the marriage.
spousal support is awarded regardless of the merits
or procedural posture of the case. In other words, the
court doesn't necessarily care that you will get spousal
support at the end of your case before it awards you
spousal support while your case is pending.
the court generally is not restricted by any set of
statutory guidelines in ordering temporary spousal support
with one major exception: If the party requesting spousal
support has a documented history of domestic violence
and has a criminal conviction for domestic violence,
that requesting spouse may not get spousal support.
Of course, the court may take all assets and income,
and all marital expenses in consideration before it
awards spousal support but generally, the most important
factor is the gross income of the parties and the status
quo during the marriage.
Family Law, APC
1851 East 1st Street, Suite 1150
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Telephone (714) 937-1193
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