Legal Representation in Spousal Support Cases

    San Fernando Valley Spousal Support Attorneys

    When couples legally separate or divorce, one of the spouses may seek spousal support (aka: alimony or maintenance) from the other spouse.

    Spousal Support AttorneysIf you are anxious to get spousal support – due to legal separation, divorce, termination of a domestic partnership, or even a domestic violence situation, we highly recommend that you make an appointment to sit down with a Certified Family Law Specialist at Nemiroff & Cohen, LLP. We concentrate solely on divorce and family law matters, such as spousal support.

    We routinely represent either party – the payer or the recipient. – Because we deal with these issues every day in the Los Angeles area courts including San Fernando Valley and other LA area cities, we are experts with all the requirements and subtleties involved in spousal support.

    What is the Purpose of Spousal Support?

    The purpose of the spousal support – is to provide the receiving spouse with sufficient income to meet their basic needs in line with the level of lifestyle they were enjoying while cohabitating with their spouse.

    If the receiving spouse had been taking care of domestic duties such as taking care of a home and raising children, that spouse will be expected to find employment, with some time to afforded them to brush up on skills, maybe take some classes and get their resume rebuilt.

    Temporary and Permanent Spousal Support Orders

    spousal supportSpousal support is classified in two different forms: ‘temporary spousal support’ and ‘permanent spousal support’.

    (1) – Temporary spousal support – is the support that will be paid to the supported spouse from the time of separation to when the divorce process is concluded, whether by a negotiated final settlement agreement or a trial.

    (2) – Permanent spousal support is not really permanent — as in life-long — but it is the amount of spousal support that is agreed to or ordered by the court at the conclusion of the divorce process.

    How Much Temporary Spousal Support Will be Ordered?

    In California, the various Superior Courts up and down the state have adopted a couple different spousal support guidelines. Some county courts in Northern California adopted the “Alameda Guideline” and others the “Santa Clara Guideline” formula for use in temporary spousal support. Here is Southern California, the Superior Courts of Los Angeles and of Orange counties have adopted the “Santa Clara Guideline” formula for use in calculating temporary spousal support. The guideline states that the paying spouse’s support shall be 40% of his or her net monthly income, reduced by one-half of the receiving spouse’s net monthly income.

    EXAMPLE – John’s $7,700 monthly salary nets $6,000 per month, while Mary’s part time position at the local school district net’s her $1,800 per month. Using the “Santa Clara Guideline” formula, 40% of John’s $6,000 net is $2,400 which is then reduced by subtracting 50% of Mary’s net income ($1,800 / 2 = $900). The Judge then calculates: $2,400 – $900 = $1,500. Therefore, during the legal separation or divorce process, John will pay Mary $1,500 per month temporary spousal support.

    How is Permanent Spousal Support Calculated in California

    Many factors are taken into consideration when the Judge determines a fair and reasonable level of spousal support. Unlike child support, the Judge will not use a formula to calculate spousal support, but will consider the factors in California Family Code section 4320.

    Included in those guidelines are: the receiving spouse’s current employment skills, how much, if any, additional training or education is required for the receiving spouse to improve his or her employment skills, and how receiving spouse’s earning capacity had possibly been diminished during the marriage or domestic partnership taking care of the home, raising children and so forth. Another key factor that is entered into the spousal support calculation is how many years the marriage or partnership lasted. A quick rule of thumb for a marriage or partnership 10 years or less is that spousal support might be required for half of the length the total years. So for a marriage that lasted 8 years, spousal support will generally be ordered for 4 years. For a marriage or partnership longer than a decade, that rule of thumb may not be appropriate.

    A Judge Determines: IF awarded, HOW MUCH, and HOW LONG

    In order to establish and receive spousal support –or contest or negotiate spousal support– a court visit will be necessary. Spousal support is established by a court order after all the negotiating is settled. Spousal support can also be sought in cases of domestic violence where one party essentially flees the home and needs some economic assistance. A temporary spousal support order can also be requested during the process of seeking a legal separation or divorce. Once the legal separation or divorce case is finalized, a temporary order can then be replaced by a permanent spousal support order. In all cases where spousal support is ordered, there are two parameters you will be negotiating: (1) how much the support will be, and (2) how long the support will last.

    You & Your Lawyer Must Carefully Prepare for Support Hearing!

    The Family Law Judge that hears your spousal support case has the discretion – to determine if spousal support is to be ordered, and if ordered, for how much and how long. The Judge makes the determination based on the facts and circumstances of each individual case. Your lawyer’s skill and your preparedness to make “your case” before the judge will often be critical. Whether you are seeking or contesting spousal support, your choice of a skilled and experienced attorney is crucial. We will help you to obtain the best possible outcome in your spousal support case.

    With your lawyer’s help you will prepare your side of the case – whether you are seeking spousal support or contesting spousal support, or if spousal support is a “given,” then your case for the amount of support and length of the support.

    You need to present your side of each of several circumstances that will be examined and weighed by the judge such as:

    • Length of the marriage or domestic partnership;
    • Marketable skills of the person requesting spousal support;
    • The incomes of both people;
    • The age and health of both people;
    • Debts, property and other assets of both people;
    • Each persons needs based on the “standard of living” they had during marriage;
    • What each person pays or can pay to maintain a similar “standard of living” they had during marriage;
    • Would having a job would make it too hard to care for the children;
    • Did one spouse or DP help the other get an education, career, or professional license;
    • Was there was any domestic violence in the marriage or domestic partnership;
    • Was one 1 spouse’s career affected by unemployment or taking care of the children or home;
    • Any tax impact of a spousal support order to both the payee and recipient;
    • Factors that the Judge might deems relevant and equitable;

    Any spousal support order that is worked out with the judge – then becomes part of your final legal separation or divorce judgment.

    A Skilled Lawyer can help both Parties with Tax Consequences

    Tax Consequences – Many of our clients who earn good incomes are interested to learn that spousal support is typically tax deductible to the payor, which is useful during the negotiation phase of your divorce proceedings. Spousal support is typically taxable to the payee, which again, offers another negotiable aspect to hammering out an equitable agreement. Call us to discuss the myriad of spousal support options few attorneys ever consider. Inexperienced family law attorneys overlook so many opportunities to draft settlements that can make all the difference in your life going forward.


    Nemiroff & Cohen – Protecting Your Rights – Reducing Your Stress!

    To resolve all of these complex issues wrapped up in just the Spousal Support issues, that are part larger whole of the entire divorce process, you need a qualified and experienced divorce lawyer on your side. Lauren Nemiroff and Gail Cohen are both Board-Certified Family Law Specialists with the experience that makes a difference for our clients. We have helped literally thousands of people in the San Fernando Valley successfully emerge from a divorce, even when the process appeared overwhelming at first. Divorce will not always be easy, but with us on your side, you’ll have the support you need to be confident going forward.

    Schedule an Appointment with a Certified Family Law Specialist

    Call Nemiroff & Cohen, LLP at (818) 901-8900 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with a caring and experienced family law attorney.


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