Spousal Support

Spousal Support Attorney San Francisco Bay Area

Need help with spousal support in the San Francisco Bay Area? Call Warren Major LLP for a free case evaluation at (415) 286-5440. Our experienced divorce lawyers can answer any questions about paying or receiving spousal support.

Bay Area family courts take many things into account when deciding whether or not to give spousal support. Here at Warren Major LLP, we understand all of these factors.

If you are seeking spousal support, working with an attorney who knows how to correctly present your facts is critical to receiving adequate support.

If you are an ex-spouse and have been asked to begin support payments, we must discuss your case to ensure you do not pay more than the law requires.

Spousal Support In California

Although spousal support is uncommon, with only 10-15% of divorces or separations resulting in payments, many people are surprised to learn this fact. Due to the misconceptions around spousal support, we have compiled the following information.

Under what circumstances does someone have to pay spousal support?

A court may order one spouse to pay the other a specific amount of money at regular intervals if the couple is divorced or legally separated in San Francisco County or Marin County.

These payments are called “spousal support” or “alimony.”

If you are going through a divorce or were in a domestic partnership, either you or your former partner can ask the court for support.


When a case is still underway, payments are made under a “temporary spousal support order” or “temporary partner support order.”

A divorce or separation is only final when the relevant order for permanent or long-term spousal or partner support has been issued.

How much will the monthly spousal support payments be?

Many judges use a formula to calculate the amount of temporary spousal support if you live in Marin County or San Francisco County. To find out how the formula works in your county, click here to read your county’s local Family Court rules.

Although a judge may not just use a formula when coming to a final spousal or partner support order, they must consider all the factors listed in section 4320 of the California Family Code.

Some of these include:

  • the length of the marriage or domestic partnership
  • the needs of each person based on their standard of living during the marriage or partnership
  • what each person can afford to pay to maintain this standard of living
  • whether having a job would make it too difficult for a parent to care for the parent’s children
  • the age of each person
  • the health of each person
  • joint and individual debts and property
  • whether one spouse or partner helped the other get an education, training, or professional license
  • whether the relationship involved domestic violence
  • whether unemployment or the need to take care of the couple’s children or home affected one person’s career
  • the federal and state tax impact of spousal support


Could we come to a consensus regarding the cost of the payments?

You can agree to the amount and duration of payments on your own or with help from a family law facilitator or mediator. This agreement is called a stipulation.

However, research what you’re entitled to before you come to a final arrangement. You can always find someone who will try to take advantage of you in these situations, so don’t let them. If your former spouse already has an attorney, consider finding one to protect both sides.

You can solidify an agreement by drafting it into an order for a judge to sign so that you can have legal recourse if necessary.

How long do I have to pay spousal support?

Spousal support will last no longer than half the length of the marriage if it lasts for less than 10 years.

A marriage that has lasted 10 years is generally referred to as a “long-duration” marriage. With long-term marriages, the court usually doesn’t set an ending date for spousal support during the trial phase. Even so, this does not necessarily mean that a former spouse in a long-running marriage will get financial support indefinitely.

If you are paying support, you should be able to retire at 65. Your former spouse cannot force you to work beyond that age. If forced into early retirement, you may seek an order from the court allowing support payments to discontinue.

What if my ex-spouse gets remarried?

Spousal support generally ends when the person receiving support remarries or registers a new domestic partnership unless both parties agree to continue it.

What if my ex-spouse is intentionally avoiding work?

While you cannot force your former spouse or domestic partner to find a job, the court may lower his or her support if it is clear that he or she is not making an effort to do so.

By providing evidence that your ex is unemployed by choice, the court may assign them an income based on their potential earnings. They will then take support calculations from this imputed income, which will, in turn, lower your support obligation.

What if the spouse is intentionally avoiding remarriage?

Spousal support is usually terminated if your ex gets remarried, but if you can prove that they are living with a partner, you may be able to get the payments reduced or stopped.

What if I make less money?

If your financial status changes in the future- for example, you become unemployed, have fewer work hours, or get a job with a lower salary- you can request the court to change your current spousal support payments.

It would be best to ask for this modification immediately after your situation changes. Your obligation to pay will change as of the day you file papers seeking the modification, not from when your financial status changed. If you have lost income, speak with a spousal support attorney in San Francisco immediately.

How do I terminate long-term spousal support?

Once your ex can support themselves, you can go to court to end long-term financial support.

Does my spouse’s conduct during marriage affect spousal support?

In Marin County, California, family courts will not consider adultery when awarding or denying spousal support because the state is a “no-fault” state.

However, as noted above, domestic abuse is a deciding factor in awarding spousal support.

How can I learn more about spousal support?

If you want to learn more about spousal support in California, visit this page sponsored by the state’s Judicial Branch. You can also explore our other web pages and contact us if you have any questions.

Call An Experienced Marin County Spousal Support Attorney

If you need assistance with your spousal support case, don’t hesitate to contact Warren Major LLP today. You can schedule a consultation with one of our skilled divorce lawyers. You can discuss your situation’s details and develop an optimal plan. Spousal support cases can be complex. It’s in your best interest to have a qualified Marin County attorney on your side. Who knows the ins and outs of these cases.

Warren Major LLP

101 Lucas Valley Road
Suite 362,
San Rafael, CA 94903
United States (US)
Phone: (415) 286-5440
Email: mmajor@warrenmajorllp.com
URL: https://www.warrenmajorllp.com/


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