If you’re like most people, you’ve heard of spousal support – but what is temporary spousal support in California? Is it something you may have to pay or something that you’ll receive?
Here’s what you need to know about temporary spousal support. (Learn more about the differences between temporary and permanent spousal support here.)
What is Temporary Spousal Support in California?
Only a judge can order temporary spousal support in California. This type of order comes during your divorce or legal separation, and it’s only good during the time you’re going through your divorce. The technical term is pendente lite support. (Pendente lite is Latin for “during litigation.”)
Even permanent spousal support is usually temporary, though. Here’s where things get tricky: The courts typically refer to support orders that take effect after your divorce as permanent spousal support – even though it doesn’t last indefinitely. Permanent spousal support can last for a few months, several years, or until one of you passes away.
What is Temporary Spousal Support For?
Courts award temporary spousal support during divorce to help allocate family income. If one spouse earns and hoards all the money, that’s not fair – and the non-earning spouse is entitled to some of that family income while the divorce is pending. In many cases, the courts award enough money to allow the supported spouse to live in the same manner to which he or she was accustomed during the marriage. The money can go toward rent, bills and other expenses.
Temporary spousal support is not the same as child support. Receiving or paying spousal support doesn’t change whether you’ll receive or pay child support.
What Does the Judge Consider When Making an Order for Temporary Spousal Support in California?
Under California law, a judge can consider several factors when determining whether someone is eligible for temporary spousal support.
The law says, “During the pendency of any proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the parties… the court may order either spouse to pay any amount that is necessary for the support of the other spouse.”
Unlike permanent support, temporary spousal support usually doesn’t have anything to do with how long you were married.
Usually, temporary spousal support hinges on the asking spouse’s financial need and the paying spouse’s ability to pay. The judge in your case will look at many other factors when determining permanent spousal support, though, including:
- Both spouses’ assets (including separate property)
- Both spouses’ debts
- Both spouses’ financial needs according to the marital standard of living they established
- How extensively the supported spouse contributed to the paying spouse’s education, training, career or licensure in his or her field
- How extensively the supported spouse’s earning capacity is lowered because he or she was unemployed during the marriage
- How long it would take for the supported spouse to acquire the skills, education or training necessary to get a job, as well as how much it would cost
- The age and health of each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- The supported spouse’s ability to work outside the home without derailing his or her dependent children’s lives
- The supported spouse’s marketable skills, and whether he or she is likely to be able to get a job
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Temporary Spousal Support?
If you’re thinking about filing for divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, you may want to talk to a Stockton family law attorney about temporary spousal support.
Call us at 209-910-9865 to set up a consultation to talk about your case and get answers to all your questions, including those about permanent alimony, child custody and child support, property division and more.