In California, what is frequently referred to as “alimony” is known as “spousal support.” In dissolutions of registered domestic partnerships this is known as “partner support.” Spousal support is often an issue when the parties have separate but before their property rights have been determined. During this period the support is known as “temporary support” and each county has a Guideline used to calculate what is generally considered to be the appropriate amount of support in most cases. However, the Courts have discretion to order temporary support different from the Guideline where appropriate. To properly calculate the amount of temporary support requires an understanding of different types of income and deductions, including earned income, non-taxable employee benefits, self-employment income and investment income, to name a few. While many cases are relatively simple, other cases are more complex and require a greater sophistication by attorneys and Courts to do the appropriate calculations. At Marx & Duffy we have many years of experience in this area and strive to use our knowledge and experience to achieve the best possible result for our clients.

When a case is resolved through settlement or trial, a further award of spousal support might be appropriate. At this time, California law provides that the amount of support ordered should be an amount that is “fair and reasonable” under all of the circumstances of the case. Courts are required to consider a number of specified factors in reaching that determination. There is also considerable discretion for a Court to determine how long support should last after a dissolution of marriage or registered domestic partnership. The most important factor in this regard is how long the parties were married or in a registered domestic partnership, but other factors may be considered as well. Because of the considerable amount of discretion and large number of factors a Court can consider in reaching a determination of what amount and duration of support is reasonable, experienced, thoughtful and creative counsel can often be of significant assistance to help a client achieve the best possible result. At Marx & Duffy each of our attorneys has decades of experience in dealing with these issues and bring that knowledge and experience to bear on behalf of our clients.