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Spousal Support Rules: Does My Spouse Have to Work Full Time?

California courts may award spousal support in situations where there is an earning disparity between two members of a couple who get divorced. Either a husband or wife may be required to pay spousal support, depending upon who has the higher income. California Family Code Section 4320 addresses the issue of spousal support. online-jobs-concept-1417324-m

The length of time a couple has been married is one very important factor in determining how much you must pay under California’s spousal support rules. Among other things, the length of the marriage will determine if your spouse is going to be required to become self-supporting.  If your spouse is required to become self-supporting, this would mean that he or she would need to work full time, or at least work enough hours that there was no longer a need for you to provide financial assistance.

At Brown & Charbonneau, LLP, our experienced Orange County, CA family law attorneys understand the rules for spousal support and can help you to make a compelling argument to the court for your preferred amount of spousal support. Whether you are fighting for support or want to make sure you don’t end up paying your spouse a huge sum of money for the rest of your life, we are ready to bring our legal experience to the table to work on your case.

California’s Spousal Support Rules and Full-Time Work

When deciding if you have to pay spousal support, the court looks at the length of the marriage, contributions made by both spouses, the support given by one spouse to the career of the other, and the earning potential of each spouse.

If you are making more than your spouse, you are probably going to have to pay support for at least some period of time. If your spouse was staying at home and not working at all, or was working part time, you will likely be ordered to pay enough to allow this arrangement to continue for a limited period of time.

However, you won’t necessarily be required to keep working and supporting your spouse forever. According to Family Code Section 4320

“The goal that the supported party 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.”

This means that unless there are other factors at stake, you could be obliged to pay for your spouse while he or she does not work full time for up to half the length of your marriage. By the end of this period, your spouse will need to have a job that pays enough that he or she is no longer dependent upon you.

Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide assistance determining other factors that could affect a spousal support ruling and can help you to convince the court to enter a fair support order. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how our Orange County, CA family lawyers can represent you. 714-505-3000