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Should You Push for Temporary or Permanent Spousal Support?

Posted by Ahluwalia Law Professional Corporation | Jul 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

When Mark and Sarah got married, Sarah decided to quit her job and become a stay-at-home mom. After several years, the couple decided to divorce. Sarah planned to re-enter the workforce, but knew she still needed spousal support to make ends meet following the divorce.

Sarah has two options. She can start with temporary support and later request permanent support. Which type of support should she choose? This blog explains the two different types of alimony and when they are typically ordered in a divorce action.

What is Temporary Spousal Support?

Temporary spousal support, which is also known as pendente lite support, is granted while a divorce, legal separation, or annulment is in progress. It is usually ordered to preserve the financial situation that a couple had while married so that one spouse is not left in reduced circumstances.

If you are seeking temporary support, you have to file a request with the court and attend a hearing. Both you and your spouse must file an Income and Expense Declaration to show your respective financial situations. When deciding whether to award temporary spousal support (and if so, how much), the court is only required to take several factors into account, including the following::

  • The financial needs of the requesting spouse,
  • The other spouse's ability to pay,
  • The resources available to pay.

Temporary support orders can be modified, but it is not technically necessary to demonstrate a change of circumstances first. Temporary orders also end once the court orders permanent spousal support.

What is Permanent Spousal Support?

Permanent spousal support or long term support is precisely what its name suggests. It is a support order made as part of the final divorce decree. It is not calculated as such, as California law does not allow the court to use a calculator. Instead, it considers all of the factors listed in Family Code 4320 before deciding how much support to award. These variables include:

  • The marketable skills of the supported spouse (if any)
  • Whether or not the supported spouse took time away from the workforce to devote time to domestic duties
  • The ability of the supporting party to pay
  • Each spouse's needs based on their standard of living while married
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age and health of each spouse

Once a permanent support order takes effect, it can only be modified if one or both spouses experience a significant change in circumstances. Examples include a reduction or increase in income, the remarriage or cohabitation arrangement of the supported spouse, and retirement of the supporting spouse. However, if the parties agree the permanent support to be non-modifiable, then it must be specifically stated in the settlement agreement.

Not all divorcing spouses ask for temporary spousal support. But if you sacrificed your own job prospects to support your spouse's career and care for your children, it can help ensure that you don't suffer financially when the marriage ends.

If you are filing for divorce in San Jose and the surrounding area, Attorney Madan Ahluwalia will help you request temporary spousal support as soon as possible so that you don't experience financial hardship in the interim before the final divorce order goes through. He will also present your need for permanent support in the clear and logical manner needed for a favorable court decision. For more information, please contact Ahluwalia Law P.C. today.

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