Understanding California Spousal Support Guidelines

california divorce processIf you are about to go through a divorce and are concerned about spousal support, also known as alimony-either paying or receiving-there are a few things that you should know. If you are looking for a full rundown of all the particulars and intricacies that go into deciding spousal support in California, our divorce guide is a great resource. In it you will find a very expansive section that discusses everything that you need to know about support. To give you a quick and easy breakdown of the spousal support guidelines, below you will find the most basic and necessary information.

When dealing with alimony or spousal support, it is important to know why support is offered, how long it will it will be paid, and exactly how much will need to be provided. Let’s take a look at these.

What is the Purpose of Spousal Support?

  • Temporary spousal support is often decided at an Order to Show Cause Hearing that is scheduled because one spouse is making far less than the other.
  • The purpose of the support is to provide the spouse with sufficient income for their basic needs and to ensure that their lifestyle will be able to remain consistent after the divorce.
  • If the support receiving spouse played the role of the homemaker, they will need to find a job but are not expected to immediately.

How Long Will I Pay or Receive Spousal Support

  • The duration of spousal support is thought to be linked to a transition period from married life to single life.
  • The duration of support depends on a “rule of thumb.” For marriages that lasted less than ten years, the length of support will equal one half of the time. So for a marriage that lasted 8 years, support will have to be provided for 4 years.
  • If you are married for longer than 10 years, the lesser earning spouse will receive alimony for as long as he or she needs to, as long as the other spouse is able to pay.

How Much Spousal Support Will be Provided?

  • In California the Superior Courts of Orange and Los Angeles counties have adopted a spousal support guideline called the “Santa Clara Guideline” formula for use in temporary spousal support. The guideline states that the paying spouse’s support be 40% of his or her net monthly income, reduced by one-half of the receiving spouse’s net monthly income.
  • Deciding permanent support is a much more detailed process with many factors to be considered. Here is a link to the How Spousal Support is Decided Page in our divorce guide that outlines the entire process.

Get All of Your Questions Answered From an Experienced Group of Family Law Attorneys

When facing large legal matters such as divorce, it is always in your best interest to contact an experienced and knowledgeable attorney that will be able to help you through any question you may have regarding your unique situation. If you have any further questions about spousal support or any other aspect of the divorce process in the state of California, be sure to visit our divorce guide or call one of Dishon and Block’s family law attorneys at 1-877-615-6620. Their caring and compassionate nature will be just the help you need.

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