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Can I Get Spousal Support While Divorce is Pending?

Posted by Furman & Zavatsky | Nov 28, 2019

If you have made the decision to file for a divorce, then you might have plans to move out of the home. In most divorces, it's common for one spouse to find another place to live during the process, but it often presents a financial challenge. A major challenge is that the single household expenses were sustained on the entire family income, but now there are expenses for two homes.

It's no secret that living in California is expensive. This includes mortgage payments, rent, car payments, utilities and other basic household costs will still have to be paid once a spouse who moves out.

Get Spousal Support While California Divorce is Pending

Normally, one spouse will need to obtain spousal support after the separation to pay all the daily expenses. Temporary spousal support is often awarded to a spouse to assist them with their expenses while the divorce process plays out.

A California divorce typically can take many months, and often a year, to complete, making it crucial to obtain temporary spousal support. If either you or your spouse has filed for divorce, you'll likely soon have a hearing regarding interim orders that addresses child custody issues and financial concerns that may arise while your divorce is pending.

Temporary spousal support (also known as temporary alimony) is one of these concerns. Spousal support is by no means guaranteed, but if you can verify your financial need and your spouse's ability to pay, you are likely to receive temporary spousal support.

As stated, receiving alimony while your divorce is pending is an important concern. An experienced Los Angeles divorce attorney will help ensure that you receive the support you need to move forward with your divorce.

If you have already initiated the divorce process and have concerns about meeting your financial needs while the divorce is pending, call our California divorce attorneys who can help you request temporary spousal support as soon as possible.

How to Get Temporary Spousal Support

In order to obtain temporary spousal support, you have to first start your divorce case by filing a petition and summons and serve you spouse with the papers.

If you have already filed and served, you could file a motion for an Order to Show Cause (Form – FL-300). This action will set a hearing in place where you will have an opportunity to present your request for spousal support (alimony) in a proposed order for temporary spousal support.

At the hearing, the judge will make a determination on the amount and the order for temporary spousal support will be enforceable and you can start receiving payments.

If you have moved out of you home, or your spouse was ordered to move out due to domestic violence issues, you could make a request for temporary support along with requesting a domestic violence restraining order.

The judge at your temporary hearing will take your unique circumstances into consideration in determining if you will receive spousal support – and if so, how much. The court generally wants to maintain the status quo and uses this as its guide.

For example, if your spouse earns far more than you do, it's unlikely that you will be able to maintain your current lifestyle if his or her income is withheld from you. As such, the court may award you with temporary spousal support to see you through until your divorce is finalized. A spousal support lawyer in Los Angeles might be able to help you receive your temporary or permanent alimony sooner.

Showing Financial Need

In order to receive spousal support, you'll have to demonstrate your financial need, which is often accomplished by delineating specific necessary-expenses, including:

  • Your legal expenses
  • Your living expenses as they relate to the upheaval of the divorce process (if you have to move, for example)
  • Your childcare expenses

If you have financial need and your spouse has financial means, the court is apt to order spousal support on your behalf.

How is Temporary Spousal Support Calculated

If you are eligible for temporary alimony, the court will likely calculate the amount after considering many factors. In the most general terms, this means that your spouse will pay 40 percent of his or her net monthly income minus half of your net monthly income.

For example, if your spouse earns $10,000 a month and you earn $1,000 a month, your spouse could owe you up to $3,500 a month ($4,000 is 40 percent of $10,000; $500 is half of $1,000; and $3,500 is $4,000 minus $500).

In other words, your temporary spousal support will be based on the relative disparity between you and your spouse's incomes.

Any child support that your spouse pays you will be subtracted from his or her net before temporary spousal support is calculated. Finally, spousal support is tax-deductible for the payor and is taxable as regular income for the payee.

When a judge makes their final spousal support order, they have to consider the factors under factors in California Family Code 4320.

Will Unemployment Affect My Temporary Spousal Support?

The court is not concerned with your employment or employability at this stage in the divorce process. The judge's intent is to preserve the status quo and to provide for your basic needs – in accordance with your married lifestyle.

While this does not mean that you won't be expected to find employment and take more responsibility for your own financial support in the future, the court will not require you to find immediate employment during the pendency of your divorce.

If you were a stay-at-home parent or you took care of your home while your spouse worked, you aren't expected to change course on the spot and to morph into a primary breadwinner overnight.

Temporary vs. Permanent Spousal Support

Temporary spousal support can be an important tool for moving forward with a divorce. It can be helpful, however, to understand how the difference from permanent spousal support. These differences include:

  • Permanent spousal support is rarely actually permanent (continuing until one of you dies). It does, however, typically last longer than temporary spousal support, which lasts only until your divorce is finalized.
  • Permanent spousal support is calculated according to very exacting guidelines that take far more details related to your marriage into consideration.
  • The court is more likely to implement its considerable discretion in calculating permanent alimony and is more likely to stick to the guidelines in calculating temporary alimony.

Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer

If you are facing a divorce, consult with our experienced Los Angeles divorce lawyers to review your situation and options. Obtaining temporary spousal support could be critical to your ongoing case, and our divorce and family law attorneys can help you.

We serve clients throughout Southern California, including the greater Los Angeles County and the San Fernando Valley. To schedule a free consultation, contact or call our law office.

Furman & Zavatsky
15821 Ventura Blvd #690
Encino, CA 91436
(818) 528-3471

About the Author

Call a Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer

Family law disputes have the potential to have a significant impact on your quality of life and overall happiness. As a result, it is critical for you to protect your rights to the fullest extent possible when involved in a dispute related to family law. The lawyers of Furman & Zavatsky have the skill and experience to resolve your case as favorably as possible and provide compassionate and understanding legal counsel and representation. We also offer flat fee legal services for divorce and family law issues.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our Los Angeles divorce attorneys, call our office today at 818-528-3471. Read our blog on how to prepare for your first meeting with a divorce lawyer.

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Encino, CA 91316
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