One of the benefits of marriage is that both spouses can achieve a higher standard of living than they could have on their own. Often, this is accomplished by placing one spouse’s career first while the other spouse forgoes career opportunities to allow the family to move as required by the higher paid spouse’s job or to stay home to take care of the children. Spousal support attempts to compensate a spouse for these sacrifices and ensure they will be able to support themselves after the divorce.
Temporary support is designed to support a spouse who was unemployed or earning significantly less during marriage. It can be petitioned for upon filing for divorce and is granted until a final support determination is made. Because the goal is only to temporarily provide for a spouse’s basic needs, Sonoma County courts generally apply a simple formula of 40% of the other spouse’s net monthly income less one half of the receiving spouse’s income.
Permanent support is designed to more accurately reflect the economic situations of the spouses and may be permanent, but is more often for a set period of time. Absent prior agreement by the spouses, the court takes into account a number of factors including the length of the marriage, the standard of living enjoyed by the spouses, the contribution of each spouse to the marriage, and each spouse’s ability to support themselves after divorce. As with child support, a subsequent modification requires a change in circumstances. Spouse support is often one of the most hotly contested issues of divorce. Using an attorney to help gather financial information, value non-economic contributions, and present a strong case to the court is highly recommended to help ensure a fair award.
If you need a lawyer to handle your temporary or permanent spousal support case in Santa Rosa, Windsor, or Petaluma in Sonoma County, contact Brian Lanz at The Family Law Office today – (707) 523-4419.