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Spouse Support

Again, the issue of spousal support is a highly charged emotional area of law. Out of the sixteen elements of Family Code 4320, the prominent element is the term of the marriage. Marriages of 10 years or more are considered long term and all of code of 4320 is fully relevant. Code 4320 is less relevant to marriages of less than 10 years. A court's criteria focuses on the income of both spouses. The party with the higher income is typically obliged to pay the party with the lower income some spousal support, based on a period of time equivalent to half the term of the marriage. The supported spouse has a duty to become self-supporting in a reasonable amount of time, that time being half the term of the marriage. For example, in a 12 year marriage the supported spouse can expect 6 years of support. The supporting spouse has the right to argue that the supported spouse has the duty to become self-supporting. The supporting spouse at any time after the support is ordered may have a review of the supported spouse's modified capability of self-support, after which the court has the discretion to review that issue and raise or lower support accordingly. In marriages of 30 or more years and parties of older age, the higher income spouse can expect to pay support for the rest of his/her life. Each spouse will equally divide retirement, income, social security benefits, and the like.