Spousal Support Lawyers

Spousal Support Lawyers

Spousal Support | Kleeman Kremen Family Lawyers

Whether you are seeking spousal support or looking to defend yourself against spousal support demands, Kleeman Kremen Family Lawyers will protect your financial rights – through litigation, mediation, or a collaborative law process.

Our attorneys have over 70+ years of combined experience handling complex divorce cases and other family law matters. When you choose Kleeman Kremen Family Lawyers, you choose seasoned attorneys with a proven track record of success in settlement and court.

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How is Spousal Support determined in California?

California awards spousal support both as an interim “temporary” order during the course of a divorce case, or as “permanent” spousal support at time of settlement or trial.

Permanent spousal support is determined by a “facts and circumstances” legal standard, that weighs and balances certain specified factors. These factors include the following:

  • Each spouse’s income, both earned income from work and unearned income from investments and other income streams
  • Each spouse’s earning capacity, including both earned and unearned potential income from a party’s skills and ability to work as well as from a party’s assets that do not, in the Court’s opinion, generate sufficient return on these assets (as an example, real estate that is rentable, but not generating rental income)
  • The assets and obligations of each party
  • The amount of time spent by one spouse out of the workplace for the benefit of the children of the parties or other tasks performed for the community
  • The age and health of the parties
  • The standard of living during the marriage.
  • The amount of time a non-working spouse needs to be re-trained
  • The existence of domestic violence in the marriage and its effects on the abused spouse’s ability to earn

How Long Does Spousal Support Last?

Short Term Marriages

In California, spousal support for a short marriage (a marriage that lasted less than 10 years) often lasts one-half the length of the marriage. It is important to note that the court has the discretion to make the period longer or shorter based on the particular circumstances of each spouse. Age and health weigh heavily in the determination of the length of the award, along with earnings, earning capacity and each spouse’s assets and debts.

The court will expect the supported spouse to make efforts to become self-supporting following the dissolution of marriage. This expectation is typically made part of the final judgment in certain language given as an “admonition” to the support spouse The policy of the law is to assure that a party who is able to work and help provide for his/her own support does so, while considering the other factors, including time spent out of work in the care of the children of the marriage.

Long Term Marriage

In California, long term marriages (marriages that last longer than ten years) do not have any specific duration set for spousal support. A paying spouse will have the ability to return to Court to seek a modification of the support amount, with the Court again required to apply the factors and determine any appropriate modified amount of support.

It is important that any judgment of dissolution of marriage include requisite language and specific financial and other “findings of fact” that will form the basis for the court’s decision to modify support in the future. This is key.

What If My Income Fluctuates?

Many individuals have variable income streams – whether due to “base and bonus” compensation structures, equity compensation that vests over time, earnings based on their creative efforts – payments by episode, script, re-write, future profit participation, residuals and royalties – and other seasonal adjustments. Some businesses have cash flow that is seasonal, and owners are compensated in varying amounts, depending on seasonal cash flow. California takes into consideration these “fluctuating” income streams in setting spousal support, and formulas for “time-based” payments can be devised to address them.

Temporary Spousal Support in California

While the divorce is pending, temporary spousal support is often needed. This allows the spouse with less income to be financially stable during the divorce process. When awarding temporary spousal support, the court will attempt to maintain the financial “status quo” that the lesser earning spouse had during the marriage. The court will often look to a mathematical formula to compute this temporary spousal support payment and is referred to as a “temporary spousal support guideline”.

Modification of Spousal Support

Spousal support can be modified when life circumstances change or when new information surfaces. If either of the parties’ financial status changes, spousal support can be adjusted. At Kleeman • Kremen, we assist clients in modifying or terminating spousal support awards, and create judgments that plan for this future circumstance.

Spousal support automatically ends if one of the spouses dies or if the supported spouse gets remarried.

Dena Kleeman and Ruth Kremen

Dena A. Kleeman and Ruth S. Kremen have the kind of experience that is crucial in the practice of family law.

As a certified family law specialist, Dena A. Kleeman is recognized by the State Bar of California as having the requisite education and experience to represent clients in the specialized field of family law. She received training and certification as a divorce mediator through an approved program of the National Academy of Family Mediators. Ms. Kleeman has practiced family law full-time since her graduation from Stanford Law School in 1983.

Ruth S. Kremen has been practicing full-time family law since 1993. She has a wide background in the practice of civil litigation, including family law litigation. Ms. Kremen graduated from Georgetown University Law School in 1982, clerked for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 1983, and entered private practice in 1984.

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