Most people are confused and misinformed about how the California courts calculate spousal support. Spousal support (alimony) is payment from one spouse to another paid during or after a divorce and is based largely on need, ability to pay and the marital standard of living. Below are some of the biggest myths about Spousal Support:
Myth #1: Spousal Support is ordered for one-half the length of the marriage.
Many people believe that if spouses were married, for example, for ten years then spousal support is automatically ordered to be paid for half the length of the marriage, or five years. There is no California law which provides that spousal support must be paid for half the length of the marriage. While this can serve as a rough guideline, the court takes many other factors into consideration and this guideline should not be relied upon.
Myth #2: Infidelity of a spouse will be taken into considertion by the court when determining spousal support.
California is a no fault divorce state. Therefore, infidelity by a spouse will have no relevancy in a divorce proceeding and will not affect the amount or duration of spousal support ordered by the court.
Myth #3: Once spousal support is ordered it cannot be changed or modified.
Spousal support can always be modified (unless the spouses agree that it will be non-modifiable). Some events which may trigger a modification of spousal support are the payor’s loss of a job, a significant change in the custodial timeshare (amount of time allowed with children) or possibly a substantial inheritance received by the payee.