Spousal Support

Property Division Attorney

Spousal Support

One of the issues in In re Marriage of Grimes and Mou was the amount and duration of spousal support.

The parties were married for more than eleven years. The husband worked for Google and the wife worked as a treasury analyst.

The family court found that the parties enjoyed a middle to upper-middle class lifestyle. The judge also stated that the husband paid the wife about $300,000 of spousal support for several years during the divorce proceedings. The court also found that the wife could become self-sufficient within a few years and had not tried very hard to become self-sufficient. The court ordered spousal support in the amount of $3,000 per month for 18 months, $2,000 a month thereafter for 1 year, and then $1.00 per month for 4 years. The wife appealed. Even though she earned $96,000 per year, she argued that the trial court did not consider the fact that her income was far below the marital standard of living.

The appellate court upheld the order. It stated that the family law judge made the proper findings. In respect to the marital standard of living, that was just one factor in spousal support and is a threshold element or a reference point against which all the other factors should be weighed. In addition, the fact that the husband could afford to pay spousal support was not the only consideration the court should consider either. Family Code section 4320 identifies many factors the court must consider. The factors of section 4320 of the Family Code are listed below.

Family Code section 4320: In ordering spousal support under this part, the court shall consider all of the following circumstances:

FC 4320(a): The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into account all of the following: (1) The marketable skills of the supported party; the job market for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire other, more marketable skills or employment. (2) The extent to which the supported party’s present or future earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment that were incurred during the marriage to permit the supported party to devote time to domestic duties.

FC 4320(b): The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party.

FC 4320(c): The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living.

FC 4320(d): The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage.

FC 4320(e): The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party.

FC 4320(f): The duration of the marriage.

FC 4320(g): The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party.

FC 4320(h): The age and health of the parties.

FC 4320(i): All documented evidence of any history of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, between the parties or perpetrated by either party against either party’s child, including, but not limited to, consideration of:

(1) A plea of nolo contendere.

(2) Emotional distress resulting from domestic violence perpetrated against the supported party by the supporting party.

(3) Any history of violence against the supporting party by the supported party.

(4) Issuance of a protective order after a hearing pursuant to Section 6340.

(5) A finding by a court during the pendency of a divorce, separation, or child custody proceeding, or other proceeding under Division 10 (commencing with Section 6200), that the spouse has committed domestic violence.

FC 4320(j): The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party.

FC 4320(k): The balance of the hardships to each party.

FC 4320(l): The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. Except in the case of a marriage of long duration as described in Section 4336, a “reasonable period of time” for purposes of this section generally shall be one-half the length of the marriage. However, nothing in this section is intended to limit the court’s discretion to order support for a greater or lesser length of time, based on any of the other factors listed in this section, Section 4336, and the circumstances of the parties.

FC 4320(m): The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award in accordance with Section 4324.5 or 4325.

FC 4320(n): Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.

If you need legal advice and are looking for a family law lawyer in Orange County to address a dissolution issue such as spousal support or any other divorce matter such as legal separation, annulment, custody, child support and/or property division, please consider Treviño Law in your divorce attorney search. We are located in Laguna Hills right off Lake Forest exit to both the 405 and 5 freeway.

Although the posting of this information can be considered free legal advice for a divorce in Orange County, it does not address other factors which may play a significant role in a particular dissolution. Circumstances in your divorce may alter the results in your dissolution.

Please note that this legal advice does not establish a family law attorney-client relationship. This is a legal advertisement for Treviño Law, Inc.

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