Spousal Support is the amount of money one spouse pays to the other, by court order or agreement, for support and maintenance. It is awarded to either spouse in an effort to maintain the standard of living that both parties were accustomed to during the marriage.
Spousal support may be awarded on the request of a party if there is a need by one spouse (the obligee) and the other spouse (the obligor) has the financial ability to pay spousal support. There are many facts and issues that the Court has to examine in order to conclude that spousal support is appropriate, and what that amount may be.
In California, any marriage of less than 10 years in duration is considered a short term marriage. By statute, the most amount of time a spouse may receive spousal support (absent special circumstances) is one-half the length of the marriage. There is no such rule for a long term marriage (one of 10 years or more), except that the supported spouse must exert good faith efforts to become fully employed according to that person’s measure in life (education, experience, skills, etc.), unless there is a legitimate reason the supported spouse cannot work.
If you are seeking spousal support, or you believe that you may have liability for spousal support, you really should consult with an experienced family law attorney as quickly as possible to learn what law(s) apply to your situation, what strategy would be most beneficial to achieving your goals, and what the estimated costs of the litigation may be should your issue go to trial.