Which party generally pays spousal support in a divorce?
Is alimony or spousal support always awarded in a divorce case?
When does alimony or spousal support actually begin?
How long does spousal support typically last?
The court usually looks at the term of marriage and decides how long spousal support will last. If it is over ten years, permanent spousal support is usually awarded. That means there is no definitive date in which the court will terminate spousal support.
You may wish to consider a Gavron warning. Gavron warnings are court-issued warnings that alert the spouse receiving spousal support payments that they should soon prepare to become self-supporting. In short, the spouse should make substantial efforts to become self-supportive. Otherwise, the courts can decide to terminate spousal support.
That is one important element to observe when you are determining spousal support, and receiving orders whether those are temporary or permanent orders. If this is a statutory long-term marriage, you could well indeed pay spousal support indefinitely until the death of either party or the remarriage of the supported party. However, in shorter term marriages, the courts will often make that a determinant date that the support does end. For instance, if it were a four-year marriage, you often see a permanent spousal support award of two years. That includes the temporary spousal support period that you are in.
Can the amount of the spousal support award ever be changed?
There are different times when spousal support can be changed. One is temporary spousal support. When there is a change, if a party loses a job, has a change in income, or another party gets a job and this is before the date of trial, you can file a request for an order, and ask for a change in spousal support based on these new circumstances. The court will make those determinations if it is before trial. It will be based on those temporary situations, and it will be based on the Santa Clara Temporary support spousal guidelines in most counties. Other counties have similar codes, but different calculations in determining temporary spousal support.
Once you go to trial and have a permanent spousal support order that is based on the Family code Section 4320 factor, and then the courts find that there was a change in circumstance and that change of circumstances can vary. If a party loses their job or is in an accident that affects their income, if one party gains employment that pays substantially more, these can factor changes in the circumstances. Additionally, retirement is a change in circumstances that will quite often affect a change in spousal support, but once it is a permanent spousal support award, it is important to note that you have to prove change in circumstances before you can get in to argue the case, and show the court what those new and changed circumstances are.
Quite often we will see that folks are not following the Gavron warning, and will bring in a request order based on the fact that the supported party is not making good faith attempts to become self-supporting, and had the opportunity to do so. This is why it is very important to work with a great attorney who understands the situation and can present your case in court in order to save you a substantial amount of spousal support, or help you retain that spousal support amount if someone is trying to attempt to terminate your spousal support.