What factors does a judge consider when allocating spousal support?

The allocation of spousal support is different in every case, but the judge will use the same general factors when making the decision.

According to the California Courts, the judge will look at things like the length of your marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, any abuse in the relationship and earning capacity.

Length of marriage

The judge uses how long you were together to help determine how long the spousal support award should last. Since the idea behind this type of support is to help one spouse until he or she can be self-supporting, the court wants to set an end date that is reasonable and uses the length of the marriage as a guide.

Abuse in the relationship

The court will also consider any documented cases of abuse or domestic violence that happened during your relationship. If there is any abuse history, the judge will consider the emotional effects of that abuse and factor it into determining the amount of support.

Standard of living

Ideally, the law wants both of you to leave the marriage in a financial state that allows you to continue living the same as you did during the marriage or as close to it as possible. To get an idea of the finances needed to do that, the court will consider how you lived during the marriage.

Earning capacity

Perhaps the biggest influence on the spousal support award is your earning capacity. The judge will look at both of you to see what skills you have, your work histories, your potential earnings and other factors that can help him or her to see how much you can earn on your own.