When spousal support is at issue in a California divorce court, the judge must consider several different factors that are outlined in the state's family code. Spousal support is not granted in every situation, but judges may order it if they believe that doing so is warranted. Courts consider what each spouse would need to earn in order to enjoy a standard of living that is similar to the standard that they enjoyed while married.
The factors that the judge considers include the skills that the spouse who is requesting support has and the potential job market for those abilities. The judge will also look at how much time and money it will take for the spouse to get the education that they will need to find employment. Any other factors that could affect getting hired, such as time spent unemployed, will also be considered.
Judges look at how long the marriage lasted when determining the duration of any support. Spousal support is ordered for a reasonable duration, which is considered to be long enough for the person to get back on their feet. In general, this is considered to be half of the duration of the marriage. If the marriage lasted 10 years or more, the court may decide not to set an end date.
Alimony is not automatically granted. People whose divorces include disputes over spousal support might want to get help from family law attorneys. A lawyer may advise a client about the likelihood of spousal support being ordered. The attorney may work to negotiate an agreement that addresses spousal support so that litigation won't be necessary.