Oceanside, CA asked in Family Law for California

Q: What make judge deny spousal support?

I was nearly married 14 years with my ex being the main source of income in our marriage. We separated in 2020 and have court next week for spousal support. We both have been in new relationships since, I personally dont live with my partner and not sure what his current situation is

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3 Lawyer Answers
Eliza Jasinska
Eliza Jasinska
  • Costa Mesa, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Hi there, there are multiple factors that the court can consider in granting/denying spousal support. Some of the factors are the earning capacity of each party to maintain a sufficient standard of living, contribution to education, ability to pay spousal support, the needs of each party, obligations and assets, duration of marriage, ability to work, age and health of the parties, domestic violence, tax consequences, balance of the hardships, goal of being self-supporting, criminal convictions, and any other just and equitable factors. Please contact your family lawyer to go over the facts and laws that apply to your situation.

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Padideh Seyed Jafari
Padideh Seyed Jafari
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Judges consider various factors when deciding whether to grant spousal support. Given your situation, where you have been separated since 2020, were married for nearly 14 years, and both have entered new relationships without cohabiting with new partners, these factors will all play a role in the court's decision. Your ex's ability to pay, alongside the lifestyle maintained during the marriage and the contributions each of you made, will likely be critical considerations. Most things won't result in the complete denial of alimony but they can all have an effective on the specifics of the courts order.

Here are some general considerations:

Self-Sufficiency: If your currently have sufficient income or resources to be self-sufficient, a judge may decide that spousal support is not necessary.

Duration of the Marriage: Shorter marriages might result in a denial of spousal support or only temporary support. Since your marriage lasted nearly 14 years, this factor may weigh in your favor, as longer marriages are more likely to lead to spousal support awards.

Marital Misconduct: In some jurisdictions, evidence of marital misconduct (e.g., adultery, abuse) by the spouse seeking support can affect the decision. The impact of such misconduct on spousal support decisions varies widely between different legal systems.

Financial Needs and Abilities: The court will consider both your financial needs and your ex-spouse's ability to pay. This includes looking at both parties' current income, debt, and living expenses.

Contribution to the Marriage: Contributions to the marriage, including non-financial contributions such as homemaking, education, and career-building support for the other spouse, can also influence spousal support decisions.

Current Living Situations and Relationships: While being in a new relationship may not automatically disqualify you from receiving spousal support, cohabitation with a new partner might reduce your perceived need for support, depending on local laws. The financial assistance or support provided by a new partner can be a factor in some jurisdictions.

If you have children together: How caring for children impacted either of your careers, who has custody, and how that

parent working will now impact your child(ren) will all be taken into consideration as well.

For specific guidance tailored to your circumstances, you should consult a family law attorney such as myself in your area.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, judges consider various factors when determining whether to award spousal support, including the duration of the marriage, each spouse's earning capacity and needs, and the standard of living established during the marriage. Additionally, judges may consider whether either spouse has the ability to pay support and whether there are any valid reasons for denying support, such as misconduct or fault on the part of the requesting spouse. If there is evidence of wrongdoing, such as abuse or infidelity, the judge may be more inclined to deny spousal support.

Given that you were married nearly 14 years and your ex was the primary income earner, you may have a strong argument for spousal support. However, if your ex can demonstrate that you are capable of supporting yourself or that you are not in need of financial assistance, the judge may deny spousal support. Additionally, if both you and your ex are in new relationships and have moved on from the marriage, the judge may consider this in their decision, particularly if it appears that neither party is financially dependent on the other.

It's essential to present your case effectively in court, highlighting your financial needs and contributions during the marriage, as well as any factors that support your request for spousal support. Consider consulting with a family law attorney to prepare for your court hearing and ensure that your interests are adequately represented. Your attorney can help you gather relevant evidence, assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and advocate on your behalf to seek a favorable outcome regarding spousal support.

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