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How does the length of the marriage impact spousal support?

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2018 | Divorce |

There are many factors that will be important when a judge makes various decisions in a California divorce case. The divorce legal issues are vast and can impact multiple areas of the couple’s life. Particularly contentious is spousal support. Perhaps the spouse who is set to be ordered to pay does not feel the amount the supported spouse is asking for is fair. The supported spouse might view things in the exact opposite frame. One factor that will be part of the process is the length of the marriage and how that fits in with how much will be paid.

Before thinking about how much will be ordered, it is imperative to remember that the idea behind spousal support is that the supported spouse will eventually be able to self-support within a reasonable time-period. When determining what a reasonable time-period is, it might be half the amount of time the couple was married. The judge maintains the ability to decide differently depending on the case’s circumstances.

A key point to remember is when the marriage is perceived to be “long-term” and lasts a decade or more, the judge could have an open-ended time-frame for spousal support. With that, neither spouse will know when the payments will conclude, if ever. The way the length of the marriage is calculated is generally from the time the couple got married to the date in which they separated. With the separation date being so integral to the determination of spousal support, there is often a dispute between the parties as to the date. As part of the process, the judge is also free to consider times in which the couple was separated while they were married.

Of course, the length of the marriage is not the sole issue the judge will consider with spousal support. The lifestyle the couple enjoyed and the means available to the parties are also important. When a couple is getting a divorce and spousal support is a concern, having legal help is a must. Calling a law firm that understands all areas of divorce can be of assistance with a case.


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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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