Spousal Support

After separation, either party may owe spousal or partner support (alimony) to the other party. San Francisco attorney Lisa J. Auer is here to evaluate your needs and walk you through your unique process. There are two types of spousal or partner support — temporary and post-judgment — and they serve different purposes.

Temporary spousal or partner support may be awarded at any time until the judgment dissolving the marriage or domestic partnership becomes final. The purpose of temporary support is to maintain the parties' living standards and conditions as close to their pre-separation status quo as possible until the final judgment. Temporary support is generally calculated based on the parties' relative incomes using a computerized guideline formula that also takes child support into account if applicable.

Post-judgment spousal or partner support is not mandatory. Both parties have a duty to make good faith efforts to become self-supporting after separation. Courts have a great deal of discretion over whether to order support and over the amount and duration of support. The determination is based on need, ability to pay, standard of living during the marriage or domestic partnership, length of the marriage or domestic partnership, the age and health of the parties, any history of domestic violence, and other factors.

California statutes provide that generally, spousal or partner support lasts for half the length of the marriage or partnership if it was a short-term relationship (less than 10 years) and that support jurisdiction continues indefinitely after a long-term relationship (more than 10 years). But again, judges have considerable discretion to make other orders.

Often post-judgment spousal or partner support is negotiated and resolved by the parties in a marital or domestic partnership settlement agreement. The parties may agree to waive support or agree on the amount and duration of support.

Experienced Lawyer Ready to Handle Any Changes in Your Life

Changes in either party's financial circumstances may make a post-judgment support modification proceeding necessary. Spousal or partner support orders are generally modifiable during the support period based on changed circumstances, unless the parties expressly agreed that support would be non-modifiable.

Discuss Your Spousal Support Matter with Us

Auer Family Law is here to help you determine whether support is owed and how to calculate the correct amount. To schedule a consultation with our firm, you can fill out our contact form or call us at 415-766-0122.