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Spousal support basics in California (part 3)

Let's wrap up the discussion we've been having over the past month on our Tustin family law blog with a look at some of the remaining factors that could play a role in spousal support. The discussion is not intended not as legal advice, but simply as general information.

Unfortunately, domestic violence is all too often an element underlying a divorce. What happens if one divorcing partner is being asked to pay spousal support by a partner who is, or was, abusive? Assuming there is evidence of the abuse -- perhaps in the form of police reports or medical records, or witness testimony -- the judge hearing the case will have to take it into consideration.

The judge could decide that an abusive partner should not receive alimony to which he or she would otherwise be entitled. On the other hand, a partner who was a victim of abuse may receive more in spousal support due to the psychological distress endured during the marriage. Both scenarios again assume that the alleged violence or abuse is documented and not merely a tactic to try to influence the process.

Finally, when does spousal support come to an end? If the judge's order stipulates an end date or a time period, then payments will end according to what is in the order. If the order is silent regarding an end date, then payments can end in one of two ways. One is if the recipient marries someone else (or enters a new registered domestic partnership). The other is if either of the divorced partners dies -- this applies to either the one paying or the one receiving spousal support.

As we have seen, there are many layers of considerations involved in spousal support. A family law professional is a strong resource for questions about the process or for representation when arguing one's spousal support claims in court.

Source: California Judicial Branch, "Spousal/Partner Support," accessed on Dec. 8, 2017

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