Temporary spousal support is usually ordered at the request for order stage of the case and lasts until the divorce is final. It may also end if either party remarries or dies.
Permanent spousal support is usually awarded at the end of the trial. It is meant to help a spouse develop the means to become self-sustaining.
Temporary spousal support is typically ordered early on in the divorce process (as soon as you check the box on your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage) and is designed to help a lower-earning spouse maintain their standard of living until the trial date. It is only paid until a judge issues a final divorce order, or until the couple agrees to end it.
When a judge orders temporary support they will usually look at the payor’s net income and the recipient’s need for money. They may also consider tax-related considerations, and a handful of other specific financial considerations. However, this is an area where it is important to have a family law attorney who knows the law and can prepare a well-reasoned response to any motion for temporary support.
Knowledgeable divorce attorneys have guideline calculator templates to help determine what support would be appropriate based on the facts and circumstances in your case. In other words, a judge can only make an order that takes into account the relevant information and factors.
In divorce cases, a judge can order that one spouse pays a certain amount of money to the other for a limited period of time. This is known as temporary spousal support or maintenance, and it allows the lower earning party to maintain some form of status quo while their divorce case is pending in court.
When a couple petitions for temporary, or pendente lite, spousal support, the court must consider a set of factors when deciding how much and for how long to award it. Often, this involves using a specific computer program such as XSpouse or Dissomaster to figure out the net spendable income of each party.
However, for permanent alimony, the courts are not allowed to use these calculators and must instead consider a long list of state law listed in Family Code SS4320. These include the length of the marriage, the standard of living that existed during the marriage, the paying party’s ability to pay, and other factors.
Spousal support is often a significant financial consideration in divorce proceedings, and it can also play a role in the legal separation process. A common question that many people have is how long these court orders will last.
If either party needs assistance covering their expenses during the divorce or legal separation process, they can file for temporary spousal support, also known as pendente lite support. A family law judge will take several important factors into consideration when determining the length and amount of this temporary support.
This support will typically end once the divorce or legal separation has been finalized. In some cases, a judge may award permanent spousal support. This is generally only done if it seems likely that the receiving spouse cannot secure regular employment. These permanent support orders will usually continue until one of the parties dies or remarries. For shorter marriages, this type of spousal support will generally only last half the length of the marriage.
Permanent spousal support (also called alimony) typically ends once your divorce is finalized. However, a judge can issue temporary spousal support during the pendency of your case (also known as “pendente lite”). Temporary support takes the lower earning spouse’s reasonable needs and pre-divorce standard of living into account.
A family court judge can order temporary spousal support after receiving a motion document from one party seeking such an order. A judge can also decide to skip the hearing and instead simply enter a statutory formula to determine the amount of temporary support to be paid.
Most judges will only consider the fundamental factors of need and ability to pay when determining temporary spousal support. They cannot use a computer calculator to determine the amount of permanent alimony, however. That is because there are about a dozen different factors a judge must take into account when calculating permanent spousal support. For this reason, many judges give themselves more discretion when awarding permanent spousal support.