What is Temporary Support? Temporary spousal support is calculated differently than permanent support, and the award is generally a higher amount. This is because in a temporary order, the court will take the spouse as it finds him or her. For instance, if one spouse isn't working, the court will not impute income to the non-working spouse automatically. Furthermore, support is calculated with the help of a computer program. This usually results in each party receiving approximately 50% of the couple's total net pay.

How is Permanent Support Different? Permanent spousal support, on the other hand, cannot be calculated using a computer program. It must be calculated using the factors set forth in Family Code Section 4329. These factors require the court to consider a number of facts before making any permanent orders. These factors include each party's age, health, earning ability, separate savings, education level, etc.. Only after considering all the factors may the court make an order. Furthermore, it is more likely the court will impute income to a non-working spousal because that spouse has already been given time to get on his or her feet.

How Long Does Support Last? There are two types of marriages: lengthy and short. A lengthy marriage is one lasting ten (10) years or more. Support for a lengthy marriage only ends after one of the following: death of either party, remarriage of the supported spouse, written agreement of the parties, or order of the court. The court may terminate support if there is a change of circumstances, which would include the supported spouse becoming self-supporting, cohabitation of the supported spouse or reduced income of the supporting spouse. For those marriages lasting less than ten years, support generally lasts no more than half the length of the marriage (i.e. 4 years for an 8 year marriage).