When a couple divorces, one of the spouses may be ordered to provide monthly support, known as spousal support, to the other. Spousal support can be a significant concern for a divorcing couple. There are a variety of considerations the court may evaluate when determining whether or not to grant spousal support, how long to grant it and, if granted, how much to grant.
Factors the court will consider include the length of the couple's marriage, the age of each of the spouses, the health of each of the spouses, the ability of each spouse to earn an income and how much they can earn, the expenses of each spouse, if minor children are in the home and the couple's history of handling money -- such as the lifestyle they maintained, during the marriage. In addition, both spouses are able to request a change to the support amount from the court if circumstances change at some point.
Based on those considerations, a spousal support order will be issued by the court and spouses can receive help enforcing the spousal support order. Spousal support can be a contentious issue for divorcing spouses. It is, therefore, important for divorcing spouses to understand as much as possible about how spousal support is determined and awarded by the court. It will help both spouses realistically approach spousal support, be in a better position to negotiate spousal support and may lead to less acrimony in the process of determining spousal support.
The family law process provides resources to help couples go through the challenges associated with the divorce process. The better prepared divorcing spouses are for what to expect from the divorce process, the less intimidating the process may seem which can lead to better outcomes concerning important divorce-related issues such as spousal support.
Source: The Superior Court of California County of San Francisco, "Spousal Support," Accessed Sept. 9, 2016