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Spousal/Partner Support

 

When a married couple or domestic partners separate or divorce, the court may order one spouse or domestic partner to pay the other a certain amount of support money each month. This is called "spousal support” or “partner support.” 

You can ask for spousal or partner support to be paid while your case is going on. This is called a "temporary spousal support order" or a "temporary partner support order." Many counties have formulas for calculating the amount of a temporary spousal or partner support order. Check your court's local rules for the temporary support guideline. 

The judge will not use a formula to figure out how much spousal or partner support to order at the end of your case (called the "final judgment").  

When the judge makes his or her final order, the judge must consider the factors in California Family Code section 4320.  These factors are:

            •The length of the marriage or domestic partnership,
            •What each person needs,
            •What each person pays or can pay (including earnings and earning capacity),
            •Whether having a job would make it too hard to take care of the child(ren),
            •The age and health of both people,
            •Debts and property,
            •Whether 1 spouse or domestic partner helped the other get an education,
              training, career, or professional license,
            •Whether there was domestic violence in the marriage or domestic partnership,
            •Whether 1 spouse's, or domestic partner's, career was affected by
              unemployment, or by taking care of the children or home, and
            •The tax impact of spousal support (note: federal and state tax laws were not
              changed to recognize domestic partnerships.)  

Either spouse or domestic partner can later ask the judge to change the support amount if the situation changes.  

A spouse or domestic partner can also ask the judge for help collecting (enforcing) a support order.
 


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Last modified: 05/10/07.
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