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California’s Spousal Support Guidelines – An Overview


Before filing for divorce, understanding your rights and obligations with respect to spousal support is very important. Becoming educated as to why spousal support is available, the duration of payments, and how much will be paid can help you become better prepared for what is expected. To protect your rights and interests throughout this complicated process, obtain the support of an established family law attorney. The prominent attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP can help. 

Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP is a law firm that takes great pride and dedication when representing clients facing family law dilemmas. When it comes to spousal support, having an experienced family law attorney can be an invaluable asset. Make sure your rights and interests are protected – contact the attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP right away. Schedule a free consultation by completing the online contact form here

How California Spousal Support is Decided

The amount of spousal support and its duration are determined by state law once multiple factors are reviewed. It is important to note that California courts have tremendous discretion in how spousal support is set. Still, the courts must abide by the law and in California, the statute that establishes the factors that must be considered when determining spousal support is coded under Family Code §4320

Under this code, the following factors must be considered when determining which party will be paying support and how much will be paid:

  • The duration of the marriage, 
  • The income of both parties, 
  • The marketable skills of the party to be supported,
  • Whether the supported party contributed to the supporting party’s education, career position, etc., 
  • The separate property of each spouse, 
  • The needs of the parties,
  • Whether emotional trauma was perpetrated on the supported party as a result of domestic violence by the supporting party, and
  • Other factors that are determined to be just and equitable by the court. 

Factors That Impact the Duration of Spousal Support

In determining spousal support payments, the court will consider the duration of the marital union. In the State of California, support payments will often need to be paid for up to half of the length of the marriage when the marriage has lasted 10 years or less. When the marriage lasts for more than 10 years, this is considered a long-term union and there are no specifics on the duration of spousal support payments. 

It is worth noting that when the parties separated at any time before the divorce, the duration of the separation will possibly be taken into consideration when the courts decide on the support award. 

Determine Your Legal Options – Speak to an Experienced Attorney Today

California law determines the duration of spousal support and the amount to be paid. In order to establish the support payments, family courts will utilize a set of factors to determine which party will receive payments, how much support is required, and how long the payments will last. Whether you face making spousal support payments or are seeking support, it is important that you obtain the qualified representation of an established family law attorney. A dedicated attorney will ensure your rights and interests are protected throughout the process. 

Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP is exceedingly skilled in a variety of complex family law cases, including divorce, property division, and spousal support. Whether you are requesting spousal support or are asked to make payments, it is natural to have questions about the specifics of how spousal support works. At Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP, the dedicated attorneys will answer all of your questions and ensure you are confident in your legal decisions. For more information about Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP and how the practice can help you protect your interests, schedule a complimentary consultation by completing the online form here

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Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.