Deciding to end a marriage is a difficult decision and seldom arrived at lightly in California. Once the decision is made, there are many factors to take into consideration when determining issues such as property division, child custody, and support and spousal support. Of these, spousal support is frequently the last piece of the puzzle to be considered, but it is certainly not the least important.

Spousal support is intended to provide for the lower-earning or non-earning spouse to help prevent unfair economic hardship. The amount and duration of support may be determined by the court and is based on a number of factors. These include financial need of the recipient, length of the marriage, lifestyle during the marriage, age and health of both parties, and the paying spouse’s ability to pay.

If the receiving spouse is still fairly young, the court may order a maintenance amount of support, during which time the person can return to school or receive training required to obtain a job. Other factors that may contribute to the court’s decision might be the existence of minor children and non-marital assets. Unlike other aspects of a divorce settlement, spousal support can be re-visited in the event of a change in one’s financial situation.

Negotiating a divorce can be emotional and difficult for the parties involved in California. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help one prepare for the negotiations to come. A knowledgeable attorney can review one’s financial and family circumstances, and help one to arrive at a spousal support settlement that is fair and takes the family’s needs into consideration.