What Is the Difference Between Temporary and Permanent Spousal Support?

Child and spousal support, Divorce, Divorce settlement, Legal Separation

Spousal support, sometimes referred to as spousal maintenance or by the traditional term alimony, comes in two different forms in California. Spousal support can either be temporary or it can be permanent.

The type of spousal support ordered more or less depends on the point at which it is ordered during divorce proceedings. The basic differences are that temporary spousal support is ordered during a pending divorce and is often calculated by a guideline calculator, much like child support.

On the other hand, permanent spousal support is awarded after a court has ordered the dissolution of a marriage. Either of the two types may be modified after an award has been made.

Temporary Spousal Support

As mentioned, temporary spousal support is awarded during a divorce proceeding, annulment proceeding, or during legal separation. One party makes a request to the court for such spousal support, and the court often uses a guideline calculator to determine what amount – if any – is appropriate for a temporary spousal support order. However, according to the local rules for courts in San Diego County, San Diego County has declined to adopt a specific guideline calculator and will instead use any relevant information in determining the possibility and amount of temporary spousal support. For the purpose of determining orders for temporary spousal support, courts tend to only consider the information required to complete a guideline calculator and determine the requesting party’s need for support and the other party’s ability to pay support.

Permanent Spousal Support

Permanent spousal support is determined and awards at the time a divorce is finalized. An additional difference is that permanent spousal support is not determined by using a guideline calculator. In fact, California courts prohibit the use of such guideline calculators in establishing or recommending permanent spousal support. While factors considered in temporary spousal support decisions are generally limited to one party’s need and the other party’s ability to pay, some factors a judge may use in determining the amount – if any – that may be owed in permanent spousal support include:

  •      Length of the marriage or domestic partnership;
  •      Each person’s needs based on the established standard of living;
  •      Age and health of both people;
  •      Debts and property of both people;
  •      Role each spouse played in the educational or career development of the other spouse;
  •      Whether one spouse stayed out of the workforce to raise children or would need to do so after divorce; and
  •      Tax implications of spousal support.

Permanent spousal support may not be entirely permanent, either. There are several circumstances in which permanent spousal support can be rescinded, including:

  •      Remarriage of the person receiving support;
  •      Death of either the recipient or provider of support;
  •      Expiration of a predetermined length of time from the court; and
  •      Change in the circumstances of one or both of the parties that affects need and/or the ability to pay.

More Information

If you have questions or concerns about spousal support, including whether or not it may apply to you during divorce proceedings or once they are finalized, a family law attorney can explain the various legal aspects involved in determining and awarding such support. Family law attorneys often have guideline calculator templates to help determine what, if any, temporary spousal support is appropriate.

Contact JWB Family Law to schedule a consultation where your questions about spousal support can be answered in a clear, direct way. Divorce is never an easy process, but a family law attorney with experience handling the various, dynamic aspects of divorce can help the process be less unpredictable.

Getting divorced in San Diego County? Call us today. 619.234.6123

JWB Family Law Free Consultation San Diego

Surviving a second divorce

Finances tend to be more complicated as second divorces generally happen later in life when folks have accumulated more assets.

California divorce rates and facts

Recent divorce studies found that disagreeing about finances on a regular basis, lacking a college education, when one or both spouses are alcoholics, and being in a low income bracket are all linked with a higher divorce rate.

Should you file for divorce before the holidays?

The holidays are right around the corner, and if you are seriously considering filing for a divorce, you may be struggling with the thought of filing before the holiday season. While there is no good time to file for divorce, there are pros and cons to filing before...

Should You File For Legal Separation or Divorce?

Separated but not legally separated: Many people leave their partners on a trial basis and are living separately; however, they want a trial separation to see whether they can work things out.  They often wrongly assume that after they leave, they are “legally...

How to find success with a child custody case in California

What do Judges look for in deciding custody and visitation cases? In custody and visitation cases in California, the biggest consideration is the best interest of the child(ren). In deciding what is in a child’s best interest, the Court considers stability, frequent...

Alternatives to Divorce: Mediation as a Solution to COVID

Divorce can be a difficult process. It presents its own set of challenges: making the decision to file, deciding who stays in the family home, sharing the children, and sparing them the angst and anxiety you may experience. Add the COVID pandemic and all of a sudden,...

Is Domestic Violence a Felony?

Yes, domestic violence can be a felony. A criminal case begins when someone reports an incident of domestic violence to law enforcement. If an arrest happens, criminal charges may be filed by the District Attorney. What is considered domestic violence? California...

How is Spousal Support Calculated?

In California, there are two types of spousal support: temporary and permanent (or long-term support).  Temporary support is support that is ordered before your final judgment of dissolution. Permanent or long-term support is ordered either at trial or through...

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in CA?

If you plan to file for a divorce in the state of California, you're probably wondering how long the divorce process will take to complete. The answer to that question is—it depends. Under California family law, a couple cannot be divorced until at least six months...

JWB Family Law Adds Anne B. Howard ESQ., as a Senior Associate Attorney

JWB Family Law is expanding its team to welcome Anne B. Howard, ESQ, as a Senior Associate Attorney. Anne brings extensive expertise in family law to the team, specializing in child support, paternity, asset, and property division, and divorce. “I was drawn to the...