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Courts have broad discretion to make spousal support awards. Spousal support awards are generally of two types, temporary or permanent. Temporary awards are made during the pendency of the divorce litigation and most local jurisdictions award them based on a formula (Santa Clara formula, Alameda formula, etc.). Permanent awards are based on the court's analysis of mandatory statutory factors, including considering the ability to maintain the marital standard of living, contributions to the other spouse's education, the supporting spouse's ability to pay, "needs" in light of the marital standard of living, the parties assets and debts, the duration of the marriage, employability of the custodial spouse, age and health of the parties, history of domestic violence, tax consequences, relative hardships, the goal of each spouse being self-supporting, and other factors deemed by the court to be "just and reasonable."

In California, a "long term marriage" exists if it is for 10 years or more when measured from the date of marriage to the date of separation. Court's will generally maintain the jurisdiction to award or modify spousal support in long term marriages. Marriages less than 10 years in length can require spousal support for half the life of the marriage. This can make the date of separation an important date to decide and possibly litigate.

There are several factors that can be considered to terminate a spouses obligation to pay spousal support, including remarriage, death, cohabitation, or as otherwise agreed by the parties.

If you are being asked to pay spousal support, or are paying it and need the amount you are paying to be modified, do not hesitate and immediately contact Singer & Associates to set up a consultation to better understand your situation.

Each case has unique facts and circumstances and this area of law is always changing. Readers are encouraged to seek independent legal advice regarding their individual situation and legal issues. Contact the attorney's of Singer & Associate Law Office to set up a consultation.