Understanding Spousal Support in California

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a court order that can result from divorce requiring a person to pay their ex-spouse a monthly sum of money. Most people are familiar with what spousal support is, even if they’ve never directly dealt with it before. Although, knowing what spousal support is differs from understanding what its purpose is.

After all, it can seem unfair or unreasonable to compel someone to pay their ex-spouse a not-insignificant amount of their pre-tax income. From the payer’s perspective, this obligation can strain their finances and adversely affect their ability to move on with their life, all while providing their ex the means to move forward with theirs. Compounding the payer’s frustration can be the fact that spousal support orders can last for months, years, or even indefinitely.

Viewing spousal support solely from the payer’s perspective can make it look like a draconian remnant from another time – so, why does it exist today? Assuredly, it’s not to punish the wealthier party for their success. Spousal support has certainly evolved over the years, so understanding its purpose these days is important.

What Is the Purpose of Spousal Support?

The purpose of spousal support is to help the financially disadvantaged party maintain the standard of living they grew accustomed to during their marriage for a period of time after their divorce.

As mentioned earlier, this period of time can be a set time limit or indefinite. In cases where it’s indefinite, it can be ordered for as long as it takes the recipient to find work and become self-sufficient (known as rehabilitative spousal support).

The key takeaway here is that spousal support exists to minimize financial disruption to the party who sacrificed career or education opportunities to take care of domestic duties (such as homemaking or raising children). If someone like this grew accustomed to the life that a high-earning spouse could provide for them, divorce without spousal support could otherwise mean a sudden transition into poverty.

Do You Need Help with Spousal Support?

If you and your spouse have substantially different income levels, it’s important to ensure that your divorce provides a fair amount of spousal support. Determining spousal support involves a variety of factors and considerations, and it can be a contentious process. Despite its complexity, no one should shy away from protecting their interests when spousal support is on the table.

Whether you are seeking spousal support or want to minimize its impact on your finances, the attorneys at Claery & Hammond, LLP can provide you with the legal support you need to move forward. Learn more about how we can help during a free consultation, which you can request today.

Get in touch with us know by contacting Claery & Hammond, LLP online.