Spousal or partner support refers to payments that one party makes to the other when a couple separates or divorces. One party can apply for this support as part of divorce, annulment or legal separation proceedings, or the party could apply as part of a restraining order connected with domestic violence. The court may grant a temporary support order that will last until the court date, when they could issue a long-term order after considering all of the facts in the case.
The main factors that affect the amount of the support payments are both parties' incomes, the length of the marriage or domestic partnership and the standard of living each had during the marriage or domestic partnership. The court will examine all of this to determine an amount that will allow both parties to maintain a standard of living similar to what they enjoyed as a couple.
Additional factors that could affect the payment amounts are both parties' age, health, debt and assets. The court will also consider how much each party paid for the other's work-related expenses and whether either party was disabled or took care of any children in the home. In general, spousal support is taxable income to the recipient and deductible by the paying party.
When going through divorce proceedings, support payments could also help to balance out community property division. An attorney can explain how the court calculates these payments and how each factor affects the payment amount. It is important to have complete information for the court to review when considering a support order. An attorney can often provide additional details on how each factor affects the court's decision based on previous experience.
Source: Judicial Council of California, "Spousal/Partner Support", accessed on Feb. 23, 2015