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Spousal support basics in California (part 1)

When a couple has reached the end of a marriage, there are a number of financial matters they will need to address. One major issue is what Tustin residents commonly know as alimony, or what California law calls spousal support. There are some common misconceptions about spousal support, so we'll be taking some time this month to look at just what the California courts say about it. The discussion is intended as general information only, not specific legal advice.

Simply put, spousal support is a monthly payment that a court requires one spouse make to the other. A court will most commonly order spousal support in response to a request within a case involving a divorce or other type of separation. However, a spouse requesting a restraining order against the other partner as a result of domestic violence may also request spousal support, regardless of whether there has been a divorce filing.

It's also possible to ask for spousal support payments while the divorce process is going on. The court may award what is known as temporary spousal support in this situation, recognizing that the order only applies for the duration of the legal proceedings. Once the divorce is finalized, a new spousal support order may be issued. This would be an order for permanent, or long-term, spousal support.

These different scenarios in which spousal support may play a role -- including prior to a divorce or even without a divorce filing at all -- will be important for Tustin residents to keep in mind should they consider moving ahead with a separation from their partners. With a better understanding of these different scenarios, we'll follow up this post with a closer look at how the court will determine the actual amount to be paid each month.

Source: California Judicial Branch, "Spousal/Partner Support," accessed on Nov. 10, 2017

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