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Factors that affect whether you receive spousal support

Ending a marriage is not an easy thing to do, particularly if you are financially dependent on your soon-to-be ex-spouse. You can be scared about where you will live, what you will do to pay the bills and how you will provide the things that your children need. This fear can be overwhelming.

If you are in this situation, you can talk about spousal support with your attorney. This financial support can help alleviate the economic burdens that financially-dependent spouses experience after divorce. However, it is not available to every person in every divorce. There are certain factors that will affect whether you might receive this type of support.

Financial factors

Your finances and your ex's finances are perhaps the most important factors in determining spousal support. These factors establish whether you need support and whether your ex can pay support. When considering motions for spousal support, the courts will look at:

  • Your ex's income and earning capacity
  • Your income and earning capacity
  • The skills and training you would need to develop marketable skills to secure employment
  • The extent to which your ability to earn money is impaired by unemployment during your marriage.

Marital factors

The courts will also consider factors about your marriage. This helps them assess not only if there is a need for support, but also how long that support should be in place. They will look at:

  • Your age and health status, as well as your ex's age and health status
  • The length of your marriage
  • The standard of living you had during the marriage
  • The non-financial contributions you made to the marriage, like caring for the home and your children
  • Evidence of domestic abuse or violence

Making decisions outside of court

If you would prefer to seek out-of-court resolutions, you can work with your ex in mediation to come to an agreement on support. You might also have a valid prenuptial agreement in place that addresses spousal support already.

However you resolve matters related to spousal support, it can be crucial that you do so with legal guidance so that you do not make missteps or assumptions about your rights or the legal process that jeopardize your financial future.

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Law Offices of Diane J.N. Morin
2225 E. Bayshore Rd., Suite 200
Palo Alto, CA 94303-3220

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