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My Spouse Works: Can I Avoid Spousal Support?

Each divorcing couple is different. Sometimes the higher-earning spouse is completely okay with paying spousal support and they feel it’s their duty and obligation. Other times, the higher-earning spouse is bitter and does not want to pay a penny in spousal support. This is especially common when the lower-earning spouse had an affair.

California is a no-fault divorce state, which means a judge will not consider a spouse’s misconduct when deciding whether or not to order spousal support. In reality, even a cheating spouse can receive spousal support as long as he or she needs it and the higher-earning spouse can afford to pay it.

When Your Spouse Works Full-Time

Suppose you’re the higher-earning spouse. Your husband or wife works full-time too, so now you’re wondering if you’ll be able to avoid spousal support. Do you still have to pay it if your spouse has a full-time job? The answer – it depends. If your incomes are close, then there’s less chance that you’ll be ordered to pay spousal support.

On the other hand, if you earn significantly more than your spouse, you may be ordered to pay support. For example, if you earn $100,000 a year and your spouse earns $50,000 a year, you may be ordered to pay spousal support. Essentially, the bigger the difference in the annual incomes, the greater the chance the judge will order the higher-earning spouse to pay spousal support. It basically comes down to the lower earning spouse’s need for support and the wealthier spouse’s ability to pay it.

How Long Does Spousal Support Last?

In California, when spousal support is awarded in a divorce, it’s usually awarded for one-half the length of the marriage. For example, if the marriage lasted eight years, spousal support would be awarded for four years. However, if the marriage was “of long duration,” then it may be set without an end-date. If a marriage lasted more than 10 years, it’s considered a marriage of long duration under the state’s standards.

Looking for a San Fernando divorce lawyer? Contact Cutter & Lax to meet with a Board-Certified family law specialist!

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