Many women believe that, because they earn less than their husband, they will be automatically eligible for California spousal support after their divorce. However, this isn’t true. Spousal support is not mandatory. There are a number of factors that determine whether spousal support is awarded in a California divorce. In some cases, spousal support is denied.

Before a judge orders or denies California spousal support, he must carefully consider the following:

  • Do you have marketable skills?  How much time and expense will it take for you to obtain the education or training needed to develop or improve those skills?  
  • Did you give up a career to raise the children or take care of the home? How do those periods of unemployment affect your career prospects?
  • Did you contribute to your spouse’s education, training, career, or business?
  • Is your spouse financially able to pay spousal support?
  • What are your needs based on the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage? What are your spouse’s needs?
  • What are your financial obligations? What obligations does your spouse have? What assets are available to each of you?
  • How long did the marriage last?
  • Are you able to work without affecting the best interests of your children?
  • What is your age? Do you have any health issues or disabilities that affect your ability to work?
  • Is there any documented history of domestic violence? Has your spouse been criminally convicted?
  • What are the immediate and specific tax consequences of spousal support to each party?
  • Will denying or awarding spousal support cause a hardship to either party? Can there be a balance of hardship?
  • Can you become self-supporting in a reasonable period of time? 
  • Are there any other “just and equitable” factors?

The goal of California spousal support is for you to become self-supporting. If you are already able to provide for your own needs, the court will see little reason to award spousal support. However, if you have not been working and are unable to support yourself with your current skills, you may be awarded spousal support if you can show that it will help you become self-supporting. Talk to your San Francisco divorce attorney; your lawyer can help you determine how much support you need and develop a plan for independence. To schedule an appointment with a San Francisco spousal support attorney, contact The Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan at 415-341-1144.

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