DIVORCE FAQ #10

10. What is spousal support? Is it the same as alimony?

Spousal support is the term for alimony in California. Spousal support is money that one spouse pays
to help support the other after the filing of a dissolution. The spouse receiving such support will pay
federal and state income taxes on it, and the one making such payments will be entitled to a tax
deduction. Consult with a lawyer to make sure the orders are drafted correctly or you may not be
entitled to the deduction.

To determine the amount of spousal support, the judge will consider such factors as the standard of
living during the marriage, the length of the marriage, and the age, health, earning capacity and job
histories of both individuals. If the marriage lasted less than 10 years, it is unlikely that a judge will
order spousal support for longer than half the length of the marriage.

Perhaps neither of you need spousal support. Since circumstances can change (you could become ill,
for example, or lose your job), you may ask the judge to reserve jurisdiction to order spousal support
in the future. (The judge will be more likely to do this if your marriage lasted 10 years or close to it.)
This will leave the door open so you can ask for such support at a later time. Under certain
circumstances, you or your spouse may go back to court and ask the judge to change the amount of
support. The judge also can order a wage assignment directing a spouse's employer to pay spousal
support.


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