Insight into Spousal Support in North County

Pierre Domercq Spousal Support

We are often asked about spousal support in a North County divorce. Unlike child support guidelines, spousal support is much less rigidly defined and therefore more open to dispute and in worst case scenarios litigation.
Here are some things to know about spousal support:
1. Spousal support can either be “temporary” or “permanent.” Permanent may not mean “forever” and the “Gavron Rule” allows our Judges to place time limits for a spouse receiving support to become financially independent. Temporary orders are usually issued at the outset of a North County divorce case. “Permanent” orders are usually finalized toward the end of the divorce proceedings.
2. Spousal support is simply a financial equalizer. It is not used to “punish” one spouse for behavior such as infidelity. The Court is usually interested in the couple’s standard of living prior to the divorce, and wishes both parties to have a fairly equal opportunity to continue to enjoy that standard of living when possible.
3. Spousal support is subject to change. The divorce should establish a “Status Quo” and the Court will look for a substantial change in the status quo. This usually means one of the parties has experienced more than a 10% increase or decrease in income, or the party receiving support has remarried or entered into a substantial cohabitation. The Judge may also simply place a time limit upon the duration of the spousal support.
4. There are several complex factors that must be balanced to determine spousal support. There is no simple formula, and the quality of your attorney will have a substantial impact on the outcome in your case.
5. Spousal support is taxable to the recipient and a deduction for the party who pays it. Spousal support is sometimes combined with child support in what is known as “family support.” This is also taxable to the recipient and deductable for the payor, however the actual net amount the recipient gets to keep after taxes could be higher in many circumstances than separate payments.
The experienced family law and divorce attorneys at Burke & Domercq have decades of experience and expertise in these cases here in North County. If you have questions we invite you to contact us or call 760-712-3741 to schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers.