California Court Analyzes Temporary Spousal Support in Divorce Actions

It is not uncommon for one spouse to work outside of the home while the other raises the couple’s children and takes care of household concerns. If a one-income couple decides to end their marriage, the spouse, without an income, may suffer financial hardships while the divorce is pending. In such instances, the Courts will often enter orders granting temporary spousal support. As explained in a recent California ruling issued in a divorce case, there are no clear statutory standards governing temporary support calculations, and such calculations will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion. If you want to learn more about temporary spousal support obligations in the context of divorce, it is in your best interest to meet with a skilled San Diego divorce attorney as soon as possible.

The Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the parties married in 1993 and separated in 2021. The husband filed a petition for dissolution in March 2021. Both parties worked as attorneys at the beginning of the marriage, but in 2003, the wife left the law practice to stay at home full-time. The husband worked for the United States Department of State and was regularly assigned to diplomatic positions abroad. When working in such positions, he was provided housing by the Department of State.

Allegedly, in July 2021, the wife moved for temporary spousal support in excess of the statutory guidelines. In support of her request, she asserted that the value of the husband’s housing should be imputed to him as income. The Court ordered the husband to pay temporary spousal support but declined to grant the wife’s request for enhanced support. The wife appealed.

Temporary Spousal Support Obligations in Divorce Actions

On appeal, the Court affirmed the Trial Court ruling. In doing so, it explained that California Courts are not bound by any statutory guidelines in determining temporary spousal support obligations. Instead, in exercising its broad discretion, a Court may consider the broad picture of the parties’ income and assets, as well as the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. As such, the question of whether to impute income to the obligor spouse falls within the Court’s discretion.

Under California law, temporary spousal support orders are reviewed for an abuse of discretion. In the subject case, the Court found that the wife failed to offer legal support for her assertion that the husband’s housing should be imputed as income or otherwise show that the Trial Court abused its discretion in issuing the order. As such, it affirmed the Trial Court ruling.

Talk to an Experienced San Diego Family Law Attorney

California Courts have the option of granting parties spousal support in divorce actions, and if they do, their decision will typically not be disturbed absent a clear error. If you have questions about your possible rights or responsibilities with regard to spousal support, it is wise to seek the counsel of an attorney. The experienced San Diego lawyers of Doppelt and Forney APLC are proficient at handling divorce cases, and if you engage our services, we will work diligently to help you seek a just outcome. You can reach us by calling us at 800-769-4748 or using our online form to set up a free and confidential conference.

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