Thursday, January 22, 2015

Spousal Support and Long Term Marriages

In the state of California, any marriage lasting longer than 10 years is definitely a long term marriage (some judges will consider an 8 year marriage a long term marriage). When you have a long term marriage, a court is much more likely to grant long term (after the divorce is final) spousal support and to keep jurisdiction over spousal support open until one of the parties die or there is cohabitation with a romantic partner/ the supported party remarries. However, that does not necessarily mean that support will be granted. Jurisdiction means that the court maintains the authority to grant, modify, or terminate support. However, the amount of support is determined largely by the income of each party and the separate assets of each party.

Short term support (until the divorce is final) is very formulaic, so the judge tends to order support based on a state formula for temporary support. If the number comes out as zero, you are almost guaranteed to receive zero. However for long term support the judge has a ton of discretion taking into account about 15 different factors. Included are health of the parties, education levels, job history/opportunities, and the standard of living during the marriage. Judges also look at the income and expenses of each party and the tax ramifications for each party. Therefore if you make similar incomes, even though he/she makes more money than you, you may not end up receiving long term support or it may be a very small amount.  This is hard for some clients to swallow.

Of course most cases one party does get support. Talk to us today about your situation.