What Factors Will the Court Look At In Awarding Spousal Support?

What Factors will the Court look at in awarding Spousal Support?

The purpose of spousal support is not defined by the legislature in that its purpose varies according to the facts and circumstances of each case. The facts and circumstances of a particular case may be such which call for no spousal support, or for support for a very limited period of time, with the purpose to assist the supported spouse to “get back on his or her feet” as a single person, or until community property is distributed. On the other hand, the facts and circumstances of another case may call for support for an extended period of time, perhaps until death of the supported spouse, the purpose for which to provide assistance to one who cannot support himself.

The two situations mentioned hereinabove are extreme cases, on opposite ends of the spectrum. Quite obviously, the facts and circumstances in a particular case may be such which call for some amount of support for some period of time, though not until death of the supported spouse. For example, the court may order support for that period of time required for the supported spouse to obtain or complete an education, to allow the supported spouse to take care of the children until they reach an age where a return to employment would be more feasible, or to become self-supporting within a reasonable time.

Although the use of standard guidelines based on income is encouraged in the award of temporary support, such guidelines cannot be used in awarding permanent spousal support. As indicated hereinabove, the award of support is in large part based on the facts and circumstances of the particular case. In determining spousal support, the court considers numerous factors, set forth in Family Code Sec. 4320. They include: 1) The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, 2) The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party, 3) The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party's earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living, 4) The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage, 5)The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party, 6) The duration of the marriage, 7) The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party, and 8) The age and health of the parties.

The factors set forth hereinabove are only several of the many factors the court will consider in deciding the issue of spousal support. In that the amount and duration of an award is largely based on the facts and circumstances of the case, it is advised that one who is requesting support, or is opposing a request for support, obtain experienced counsel, who will be able to present the facts and circumstances in the best light possible.

Please note that this article is not legal advice and is not intended as legal advice. The article is intended to provide only general, non-specific legal information. This article is not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. This article does not create any attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Offices of Kenneth U. Reyes, P.C. This article is not a solicitation.

Attorney Kenneth Ursua Reyes was President of the Philippine American Bar Association for 2005. He is a member of both the Family law section and Immigration law section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Mr. Reyes is a Certified Family Law Specialist. He is a graduate of Southwestern University Law School in Los Angeles and California State University, San Bernardino School of Business Administration. He has extensive former CPA experience prior to law practice. LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH REYES, P.C. is located at 3699 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA, 90010. Tel. (213) 388-1611 or e-mail kureyeslaw@gmail.com; visit at www.kenreyeslaw.com

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