Spousal Support 101


There are two types of spousal support: (1) Pendente Lite support, or “temporary” support, and (2) “Permanent” support. Temporary spousal support is the support you receive while your divorce is pending. Permanent support is the support you receive after you are divorced. Temporary support is typically higher than permanent support because its purpose is to maintain the “status quo” of the marriage so that each party can maintain the marital standard of living as much as possible pending all the assets and debts being divided.

Temporary support is fairly easy to calculate. The relative incomes of the parties is entered into a computer program and the program provides an amount that is deemed “guideline” support. There are other outside factors the program takes into consideration, such as how many children the parties have, who claims the children as dependents on their tax returns, and a number of other possible tax deductions.

Permanent support is a bit more complicated and based on a number of factors described in Family Code, Section 4320. Some of the factors include: length of the marriage, each party’s earning capacity, impaired earning capacity due to devotion to domestic duties, health and age of the parties, and a number of other relevant factors. A review of the code will provide you with an idea of whether you or your spouse would be entitled to spousal support.

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