Court Discusses Factors Weighed in California Spousal Support Claims

Many California couples earn disparate incomes. As such, if they decide to divorce, one spouse may seek support from the other. The courts typically consider numerous factors in determining whether the grant alimony and, if so, how much, including the standard of living the parties enjoyed as a couple. If a court fails to weigh an important factor when making its decision, though, there may be grounds for reversing its ruling. Recently, a California court discussed what issues the courts weigh in spousal support disputes in a case in which it ultimately denied the wife’s request for increased alimony. If you want to learn more about spousal support under California law, it is wise to confer with a trusted Bay Area spousal support lawyer.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the husband and wife separated in 2013 after 26 years of marriage. They had five children during their marriage. They divorced in 2015 when two of their children were still minors. The court ordered the husband, who worked as an airline pilot, to pay child support and spousal support to the wife, who did not work. In 2016, one of the minor children reached the age of majority, and the wife moved for additional spousal support. The court granted her motion.

Reportedly, in 2020, the second child reached the age of majority, and the wife again sought an increase in spousal support, arguing, among other things, that the amount she received was inadequate to allow her to uphold the standard of living she enjoyed during the marriage. The husband opposed her motion, asserting that the standard of living was the product of unreasonable spending. The court denied the wife’s motion, and she appealed.

Factors Weighed When Evaluating Spousal Support Requests

On appeal, the trial court ruling was affirmed. The court noted that the wife argued that the trial court failed to assess the marital standard of living or take note of its prior finding that the current level of support was inadequate to meet that standard, which constituted a reversible error.

The court disagreed, stating that although the trial court was not required to expressly state each factor in writing and how it assessed each of them, the trial court did set them forth in writing and explained how it weighed each of them. Further, the court stated that the trial court weighed the standard of living against the fact that the wife was underemployed and the husband paid $7,000 per month in college tuition for their children. As such, it affirmed the trial court ruling.

Talk to a Dedicated California Family Law Attorney

Even if a spousal support obligation is appropriate when it is entered, circumstances can arise that ultimately require a modification. If you or your spouse intend to request spousal support in a divorce action, it is advisable to talk to an attorney about your rights. The dedicated family law attorneys of Bay Area Family Law Center are proficient at navigating the complexities of divorce actions, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly to help you seek a fair outcome. You can contact us at 925-258-2020 or through the form online to set up a conference.

This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your State.

Justia Lawyer Rating
State Bar of California
Super Lawyers
Avo Rating
2021 Family Law Badge
2020 Family Law Badge
Top 10 Best of the Best Attorneys