Can I Legally Avoid Paying Spousal Support in San Diego Superior Court?

While you can’t legally avoid paying spousal support in San Diego once it’s been ordered by the court, there are factors you can look at prior to and during the divorce process that may assist in minimizing the spousal support obligation. Consulting an attorney in San Diego who is experienced in representing clients in spousal support cases as early as possible in the process may assist and you can better protect your financial future in the wake of a divorce.

By looking at the factors the court considers in determining spousal support, you may know more about what to expect. It is very important to have realistic expectations in whether you will be the payor or payee and what the amount may be.

While most of the factors considered by the court are financial, other factors may also be considered. These include the age and health of both parties as well as whether or not there has been a history of domestic violence.

Financial factors include whether or not one spouse was the primary breadwinner, employment history of both spouses, financial and non-financial contributions of both spouses, education, child care responsibilities, and assets and debts. Financial conduct of the parties may also be an issue.

There are two ways of establishing an amount of spousal support. One is by agreement incorporated into the property settlement. If the parties are unable to agree on an amount, the court uses established financial guidelines to determine the amount of spousal support.

Another consideration is the duration of spousal support. Traditional alimony in the past could last many year. However, modern spousal support is generally intended to enable the supported spouse to become self-supporting within a reasonable amount of time. As a general guideline, in marriages lasting less than ten years, “reasonable” is often defined as half the length of the marriage. In marriages of longer duration, additional factors may influence the duration of the support order and the Court will not set a termination date as the Court does set a termination date {in most cases} at one half the duration as in a short term marriage of less than ten years.

By incorporating a Gavron Warning within the property settlement, this places the non working spouse on notice and may effectively limit the duration of the support order and require your former spouse to become self-supporting within a fixed time frame. This is very important if you are the paying spouse.

Another common issue is modification. If you suffer financial reversals, you may be able to get your support order modified accordingly. It is important to request modification as soon as possible, as modification cannot be retroactive prior to the date requested. Your spouse can also request modification if financial conditions change. However, if you obtain a better paying job or receive a windfall, your former spouse’s request for an increase in spousal support will most likely be denied since this was not within the marital standard of living.

Most San Diego spousal support orders are enforced with the aid of a Wage Assignment, wherein the employer deducts the support from your paycheck and sends it directly to the payee. Failure to pay court ordered spousal support can have serious legal consequences including contempt of court, sanctions and attorney fee contribution orders.

Your experienced San Diego divorce attorney can provide valuable advice to help you prepare for this and other divorce issues. For a complimentary initial consultation, call our office at 858-312-8500 or contact us online