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How Do Courts Decide The Duration Of Spousal Support?

Spousal Support

There are many misconceptions about spousal support in Santa Clara County. One of these is that support is always awarded, when it is actually only awarded in 10 to 15 percent of divorce cases. Another common misconception is that even when spousal support is awarded, it lasts indefinitely. This is rarely true. In fact, California has practically abolished permanent spousal support except for in very limited circumstances. Below, our Santa Clara County spousal support lawyer explains the factors the courts will consider when determining the duration payments are to be made.

The Length of the Marriage

When people are married for a long time, they are more likely to be somewhat financially reliant on one another. One person may have financially contributed to the other’s education or one person may have stayed home to raise the kids and maintain the household while the other spouse went to work. In these cases, there is a strong argument for a spouse needing spousal support during or after the divorce.

When a couple has only been married for a short period of time, there is less likelihood that a judge will award spousal support. Even if they do, the duration may be brief.

The Earrings and Wealth of Each Party

The purpose of spousal support is not to allow either party to maintain the same standard of living they enjoyed throughout the marriage, as many people think. Instead, it is meant to provide a certain amount of assistance to one spouse so they can increase their wealth independently, or increase their earning capacity. The need for spousal support is weighed heavily and so, the court will likely consider the earning capacity and respective assets of both parties involved.

The Need for Professional Development

When one spouse has not had the same opportunity to obtain education or a career as their partner, a judge may take this into consideration. In these instances, the court may decide that a spouse needs financial support for a certain amount of time in order to go back to school or to receive further career training.

For example, a wife may have worked a lower-income job while trying to also support her husband as he went to school to obtain a professional license. In the event that the couple divorced, the court may award spousal support to the wife so that she too, can obtain education or take the necessary steps to further her career.

Call Our Spousal Support Lawyer in Campbell Today for Sound Legal Help

If you are going through a divorce and want to pursue spousal support, or you believe you need to defend against unfair requests for it, you need strong legal advice. At Hepner & Pagan, LLP, our Campbell spousal support lawyer can review the facts of your case and help you resolve your dispute. Call us today at 408-429-8336 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys and to learn more about how we can help.


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