Factors that Affect Spousal Support

In some divorces the judge will order one of the former partners or spouses to pay a certain amount of money to the other as financial support. This payment is known as “spousal support.”  In the case of domestic partners this payment is known as “partner support.”  A joint term used for both types of arrangements is “alimony” but people rarely use it.

There is no fixed formula for calculating spousal/partner support in Sacramento Family Court. However, a number of local courts use a formula to calculate an amount for spousal/partner support. In most cases, the judge takes a number of factors into consideration to determine this amount. These include:

  • The duration of the relationship/ marriage
  • What each of the parties requires, in terms of money, to retain certain living standards. The standard of living should be similar to how they lived while married or in a domestic partnership.
  • The amount of money each party spends or can spend (this includes current income, as well as capacity to earn) to retain the same lifestyle they sustained during the domestic partnership or marriage.
  • Which of the partners is keeping the children
  • Whether it would be difficult to attend to the children if one of the former partners or spouses takes up a job
  • The health condition of both parties, their current age and whether any of them has a health concern such as a heart problem or diabetes
  • If the former spouses or partners own any property or have a debt
  • If one of the parties helped the other in some way during the domestic partnership or marriage. This could be in the form of helping them get training for a job, education or license for a profession.
  • If there is a history of domestic abuse between both former partners or spouses. Alternatively, if one of them was abusive towards the other.
  • A spouse is unable to provide for their support due to staying at home to take care of the kids. 
  • How taxes would influence the amount of spousal support.

Once the judge determines the amount of partner or spousal support, he or she will provide the details in the final draft of the judgment or spousal, partner or family support order attachment. These details also include the factors the judge considered when determining the amount.

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