When a couple legally separates or divorces, the court may order 1 spouse or domestic partner to pay the other a certain amount of support money each month. This is called “spousal support” for married couples and “partner support” in domestic partnerships. It is sometimes also called “alimony.”
In order for spousal or partner support to be legally established and officially start, there must be a court case.
A spouse or domestic partner can ask the judge to make a spousal or partner support order as part of 1 of these types of cases:
- Divorce, legal separation, or annulment; or
- A domestic violence restraining order.
You can ask for spousal or partner support to be paid while your case is going on. This is called a “temporary spousal support order” or a “temporary partner support order.” Support can also be ordered once the divorce or legal separation becomes final, as part of the final divorce or separation judgment. When it is ordered once the case becomes final, it is called “permanent (or long-term) spousal or partner support.”
Different types of Alimony/Spousal support
- Temporary spousal support – awarded to a party during a divorce proceeding
- Lump sum alimony – one lump sum award provided to a spouse upon divorce
- Periodic alimony – alimony payments made at certain periods of time, generally monthly payments, which end after a specified period of time
- Rehabilitative alimony – payments made for a spouse to obtain training or education
- Permanent alimony – alimony payments without any termination date (usually only terminates upon the death of a party or remarriage of the recipient spouse)
Earning capacity and the standard of living during the marriage or partnership
Understanding the Factors the Judge must consider.
A judge must consider what each spouse or partner can earn to keep a standard of living close to what they each had during the marriage or partnership.
To do this, the judge looks at the:
- Marketable skills of the spouse or partner getting support;
- Job market for those skills;
- Time and expense the spouse or partner who gets support will need to get the education or training to develop more marketable skills or to get a job;
- Extent that the earning capacity (the ability to earn income) of the spouse or partner who gets support was impaired by periods of unemployment during the marriage/partnership when he or she was devoted to domestic duties.
The judge will also consider any history of violence at the hands of the spouse or partner to be supported against the person that would pay the support. And there is a rebuttable presumption against giving spousal or partner support to an abusive spouse or partner who has a criminal conviction for domestic violence against the other spouse or partner.
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Divorce cases are very difficult and complex. You need an experienced Los Angeles Family Attorney to guide you through the legal process. Contact our law firm today at 562-439-9001 if you or someone you know needs the help of an experienced family law attorney. We will be here for you when you call. Schedule a free consultation!
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This is intended as general advice and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Each situation is unique and requires specific analysis of relevant contracts, facts and legal obligations.