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Facing the challenges of spousal support with family law help

Spousal support, sometimes referred to as alimony, can be a challenging and sometimes emotionally upsetting aspect of any divorce. The views of the divorcing spouses concerning spousal support may be completely opposed to one another and the emotional nature of the process can compound the situation. The potential recipient spouse will likely view the amount and duration of payments in a different way than the potential paying spouse will view those concerns and each party may feel strongly about spousal support.

The divorce process is designed to help divorcing couples balance concerns they may have throughout the process, including concerns related to spousal support. It can be helpful to ease concerns to understand how spousal support is determined in California to better anticipate the likelihood of spousal support being granted, the amount of spousal support and the duration of any spousal support awarded. There are several factors the court will evaluate when determining spousal support.

Factors the court considers when determining spousal support include

  • examining the lifestyle of the couple during the marriage and maintaining that lifestyle to the extent possible,
  • the ability of the paying spouse to pay while also maintaining the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage which is weighed against the needs of the potential recipient spouse
  • the length of the marriage which helps determine the duration of the spousal support

While the lifestyle of the couple during the marriage helps determine the needs of the recipient spouse, it is understood that maintaining two households, as opposed to one prior to the marriage, according to the same standard of living as prior to the divorce is challenging.

There are different options, guided by the family law process, to help divorcing couples through the divorce process and resolve potentially and oftentimes difficult issues such as spousal support. It can be helpful to be familiar with the process, and how to navigate concerns such as spousal support with the help of the family law process, before and during the divorce process.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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