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Temporary Spousal Support vs Permanent Spousal Support

Many spouses have questions about spousal support, or alimony, in their family law case in San Diego. As with many areas of the law, this can be most complicated with many factors. Whether your case is a legal separation or a divorce, the legal analysis for spousal support is the same. There are two procedural postures which need to be considered for spousal support: temporary and permanent. Temporary means pre-judgment. Permanent means post-judgment. The analysis for each is different and will be explained in more detail below. Doppelt and Forney, APLC has experience with spousal support cases and can be reached at 800.769.4748.

In San Diego Family Law Court, Judges use a computer program called the Disso Master to calculate temporary spousal support. While the Judge has discretion to use the Family Law Code Section 4320 factors [discussed in more detail in the permanent spousal support paragraph below], the Disso Master is used the vast majority of the time. It is very important to have your spousal support calculations [whether you will be paying or receiving] so you can make an intelligent and informed decision if you should settle or go to court. Below are some of the factors which a Judge will input into the program. This is not an exhaustive list, as there are many other factors.

  • Wages, salary, self-employment income, other taxable income, other non-taxable income and [basically] any income whether earned or unearned.
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Required union dues
  • Spousal support paid for another marriage
  • Federal tax exemptions

For permanent alimony orders, the Judge’s will consider the factors listed under Family Law Code Section 4320. The below is not a complete or comprehensive list.

  • Whether the capacity to earn of each spouse is sufficient for them to maintain the marital standard of living

  • Needs of both parties based upon the marital standard of living

  • Documented evidence of domestic violence. The law does not favor awarding spousal support to a domestic violence abuser

  • Health and age of both parties

  • Assets and obligations of each party including their separate property

  • Whether the supporting party obtained a career position, training and/or education which the supported spouse contributed to

  • Whether there are dependent children and if their needs interfere with the spouse who is being supported can find gainful employment

  • Specific and immediate tax consequences to both parties. Starting on 1-1-19, spousal support is no longer tax deductible to the payor and a major change to the law. As such, a spousal support order after 1-1-19 will be lower in amount due to this change.

Lastly, duration is also an issue for spousal support. For marriages of under ten years, normally, the length of spousal support will be no more than one half from the date of marriage to the date of separation. As such, a termination date for spousal support will be included in the final judgment. For marriages over 10 years, California law states that a termination date should not be included in the final judgment and, instead, “reserved”. This does not mean that the spousal support will go on for life. Some examples of when spousal support will cease will be the remarriage of the supported spouse or the passing away of either spouse.

Doppelt and Forney, APLC can represent you with regards to spousal support requests and defenses. Their office has the Disso Master program and can calculate the amount in their office during your free consultation up to 30 minutes. While no attorney can make a guarantee of the outcome of any case, having this information will give you realistic expectations. Feel free to contact their office to schedule your consultation with one of their licensed California attorneys.

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