In a California Divorce, there are two types of support, temporary spousal support, and permanent spousal support. When a couple legally separates or divorces, the court may order one spouse to pay the other a certain amount of support each month for the purpose of maintaining the former spouse at a standard of living similar to that enjoyed during the marriage. Whether you wish to receive temporary spousal support order or a permanent spousal support order you should speak with an experienced family law attorney.

What Is Temporary Spousal Support?

Temporary spousal support is awarded to a spouse while a divorce is pending. It is often awarded when one spouse is unemployed or earning significantly less than the other spouse. The Court may order payment of temporary spousal support consistent with the requirements of subdivisions (i) and (m) of Section 4320 and Section 4325 of the Family Code. Such temporary support is generally calculated using the Dissomaster support calculator and is determined in the same way as child support in California. When advising you, attorney Teresa Beyers will carefully review your situation and provide you with an objective assessment of your legal options.

What Is Permanent Support?

Permanent spousal support is most accurately referred to as post-divorce judgment support. It is a much more detailed process with many factors to be considered. These factors include:

  • The extent to which each party’s earning capacity is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage
  • Contributions of the supported party to the paying party’s education, training, career position, or professional license
  • The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support
  • Needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage
  • Obligations and assets, including separate property, of each party during the marriage
  • The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without interfering with the interests of dependent children
  • Age and health of the parties
  • History of domestic violence between the parties
  • Immediate and specific tax consequences to each party
  • Balance of the hardships to each party
  • The goal that the supported party becomes self-supporting within a reasonable amount of time (usually one-half the length of the marriage)
  • Criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
  • Other factors the Court deems just and equitable.

It is important to seek legal advice from an experienced family law attorney like Teresa A. Beyers, so you can be informed and better understand your rights and legal responsibilities as a party to a family law support case. In cases where neither party needs spousal support at the time, the Court may reserve jurisdiction to order spousal support in the future in the event of serious illness, disability, and loss of employment, or any other such changes. For example, the Internal Revenue Code provides that all spousal support payments are tax deductions by the paying spouse and taxable to the recipient spouse as “ordinary income”.

In a spousal support case, the financial stakes can loom large, particularly if the existing temporary order calls for the provision of permanent spousal support. Teresa Beyers provides vigorous representation in family court. From the start of your case to its conclusion, Ms. Beyers will work diligently to protect your rights and interests.

Modification of an Ongoing Spousal Support Order in Los Angeles

There are many reasons to enlist the help of a Los Angeles spousal support attorney when you are getting a divorce. A lawyer can prevent you from making mistakes that can result in difficulties later should your earning potential or financial situation change unexpectedly.

For example, if you are going to be ordered to make ongoing spousal support payments, your spouse might suggest that you agree to an order that is not modifiable. This means that regardless of whether your financial circumstances change or theirs change, for an agreed upon period of time, you will have the legal obligation to continue making spousal support payments.

In some instances, this is an ideal agreement if it prevents future conflict or ensures that you can establish a clear date when your obligation to make payments will end.

However, It is sometimes wiser to enter into an agreement that allows for a potential modification of a spousal support order. Despite its name, an order for ongoing spousal support is not necessarily permanent.

An ongoing spousal support order can sometimes be modified for such reasons as the following:

  • A payer’s income drops significantly and there is strong evidence suggesting their ability to restore their income to its pre-divorce levels in the foreseeable future will be limited.
  • A spouse receiving payments remarries.
  • A spouse receiving payments gets a new job, receives a substantial inheritance, or otherwise enjoys a positive change in their financial circumstances that allows them to support themselves.
  • A spouse making payments is unable to continue doing so because they are incarcerated.
  • It appears that, despite stating they would, the spouse receiving payments is not making a genuine attempt to find employment or support themselves.

A Los Angeles spousal support attorney can help you demonstrate that your request for a modification to an existing spousal support order should be granted by gathering evidence such as income statements (whether they be yours or your ex’s) and presenting it to a judge. These situations are complex, and many factors must be considered before a judge can decide if an order should be modified.

For example, you might assume you could trigger a modification to your spousal support order by quitting your high-paying job or closing your business, thus reducing your income.

This is not the case. Ongoing spousal support orders are only modified when the financial circumstances of either spouse changes in a manner that is substantial and permanent. These changes must also not have been the result of a payer’s own choices. If you were to quit your job, you would likely still have to continue making payments. The judge would determine you could have continued earning the same income as before had you not decided to leave your lucrative position.

Whether you are trying to show that your current spousal support order should be modified, or you wish to show that your ex’s request for a modification should not be granted, a Los Angeles spousal support attorney will play a critical role in these matters.

Contact The Law Offices Of Teresa Beyers

For a free initial phone consultation with an experienced Los Angeles spousal support lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Teresa A. Beyers.

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