Q: How Does California Determine Spousal Support?
A: Spousal support is determined on a case-by-case basis. A judge considers several factors to determine how much, if any, spousal support should be paid. Factors include the financial means and needs of both spouses and how their income and needs compare, the length of the marriage, the debts and assets of each spouse, and the job market skills of the supported spouse. Other factors may also be considered, and a lawyer can assist you in building a case that demonstrates your needs.
Q: Can Spousal Support Be Waived in California?
A: California law states that spousal support can be waived prior to the marriage in a prenuptial agreement. Spousal support can only be waived, though, if the terms are fair at the time of signing the agreement and if the signing spouse has independent legal counsel at the time of signing. There are alternative options to completely waiving all alimony rights in a prenuptial agreement, such as adding provisions that stipulate how long payments will be made or how much money the payments will be in the event of divorce.
Q: Can My Spouse Make Me Pay Their Divorce Attorney Fees in California?
A: California law doesn’t stipulate that one partner must pay the other’s attorney fees in a divorce proceeding. In some special circumstances, such as when a couple’s finances are extremely one-sided, a judge can issue an order to one spouse to pay the other’s legal fees. If you are granted temporary alimony, some of those funds could go toward legal fees. If you are planning to fight to have your ex-spouse pay the fees for your attorney, you should ask your attorney to file a motion with the court.
Q: Can I Appeal a Spousal Support Decision in California?
A: In California, you have two choices when it comes to changing a recently determined spousal support order — appeal or file a motion for reconsideration. An appeal is typically only useful if a legal mistake has been made that impacted the outcome of your case. You cannot present new information during an appeal.
Filing a motion for reconsideration is appropriate when new circumstances arise that could impact your ability to pay spousal support within ten days of being served with the original order. Any changes made more than ten days after the original order would be considered a modification of the order, which follows a different process.
Determining the initial spousal support payment amount or modifying the order can be a confusing process. Even in the most amicable divorces, there is a significant amount of paperwork and a legal process to follow to ensure everything is done correctly.
At the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC, we specialize in family law. With over 30 years of experience helping families navigate the issues surrounding divorce, including paying and receiving spousal support, you can trust that you are in capable hands when working with our team. Contact us to discuss your situation and learn about your options when it comes to determining or modifying a spousal support order.