California process for starting, calculating spousal support

Pierre Domercq Divorce

When two people legally separate or divorce, the court might order one of them to pay financial support to the other every month. Although this is referred to as spousal support for married couples, it is termed partner support for couples who are ending domestic partnerships. It might also be referred to as alimony.
There has to be a court case open for a domestic partner or spouse to request support. The case must be an annulment, legal separation, divorce or restraining order related to domestic violence. The individual could ask for temporary partner or spousal support while the case is still open. The support may become permanent and an aspect in the final agreement of the legal separation or divorce.
The court generally uses a formula for calculating temporary alimony. Different county courts could use slightly different factors when they calculate the support. However, the court does not use a formula when permanent partner or spousal support is determined. Instead, the factors listed in section 4320 of the California Family Code must be considered.
Some of the listed factors include the length of the domestic partnership or marriage, the property and debts of each individual, the health and age of each individual and whether there was domestic violence in the relationship. Other factors include the standard of living for each individual, the earning capacity and income of each person, and whether one partner or spouse helped the other obtain an education and career.
Although the final determination of partner or spousal support lies with the court, partners and spouses may come to their own agreements if they are able to communicate. They could get help negotiating the agreement from their lawyers or mediators. The agreement is then put before the court as part of their final legal separation or divorce settlement.