Sunday, March 8, 2009

Family Code Section 4320 - Spousal Support

Note: Excerpts from two pertinent court of appeals cases are inserted in this transcript for further consideration and discussion with your attorney; they are not a part of the California Family Code.

Family Code Section 4320

In ordering spousal support under this part, the court shall consider all of the following circumstances:

......(a) The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into account all of the following:

..........(1) The marketable skills of the supported party [your ex]; the job market for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire other, more marketable skills or employment.

..........(2) The extent to which the supported party's [your ex] present or future earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment that were incurred during the marriage to permit the supported party [your ex] to devote time to domestic duties.

......(b) The extent to which the supported party [your ex] contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party [you].

......(c) The ability of the supporting party [you] to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party's [you] earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living.

......(d) The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage.

In re the Marriage of RICHARD and BARBARA SIMPSON, No. B048099, COURT OF APPEAL OF CALIFORNIA, SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT, DIVISION SEVEN, February 13, 1992, Decided: “After dissolution, a family may be entitled to be supported at what would have been a reasonable standard of living ... given what [Husband] would have earned had he worked at a reasonably human pace." … They are not entitled to continued guaranteed support at a standard of living which existed only because the supporting spouse ‘worked excessive hours during the marriage.’”


......(e) The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party.

......(f) The duration of the marriage.

......(g) The ability of the supported party [your ex] to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party.

......(h) The age and health of the parties.

......(i) Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, between the parties, including, but not limited to, consideration of emotional distress resulting from domestic violence perpetrated against the supported party [your ex] by the supporting party [you], and consideration of any history of violence against the supporting party [you] by the supported party [your ex].

......(j) The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party.

......(k) The balance of the hardships to each party.

......(l) The goal that the supported party [your ex] shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. Except in the case of a marriage of long duration as described in Section 4336, a "reasonable period of time" for purposes of this section generally shall be one-half the length of the marriage. However, nothing in this section is intended to limit the court's discretion to order support for a greater or lesser length of time, based on any of the other factors listed in this section, Section 4336, and the circumstances of the parties.

......(m) The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award in accordance with Section 4325.

......(n) Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.
In re the Marriage of JEANNE and ROBERT H. ANINGER, No. B038780, Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Seven, 220 Cal. App. 3d 230; May 11, 1990: “The only factor adversely affecting [Wife’s] ability to meet her needs was an increase … in her housing cost resulting from her purchase of a $280,000 condominium. … …it would defeat the intent and reasonable expectations of the parties that [Wife] would achieve self-support … by going into debt far beyond her means. … By undertaking a debt beyond her reasonable means to pay presently or in the foreseeable future, [Wife] failed to make a reasonable effort to become self-supporting.”


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