Legal proceedings for divorce can take a long time, depending on the circumstances
specific to the case at hand. Divorce proceedings can last anywhere between
a few months to several years. During that time, it may be necessary to
address urgent issues regarding the financial needs and responsibilities
of the parties.
Basic principles of justice require courts to conduct a thorough hearing
of the parties’ arguments and careful consideration of their evidence
before issuing orders that would impact their legal rights and financial
obligations. However, the court can grant temporary orders regarding essential
legal issues, such as child and spousal support, that are effective as
the parties present their cases in court.
Temporary Child Support
Parents have a duty to provide adequate financial support to cover a minor
child’s basic needs. The duty to pay
child support arises from the parent-child relationship. A parent’s responsibility
extends to paying for a child’s food, shelter, clothing, healthcare,
In cases involving divorcing or separated unmarried parents, a court may
require the parents to pay any amount necessary to cover a child’s
needs pending the resolution of their legal dispute through a temporary
court order. Temporary child support orders are designed to help maintain
the status quo of the family, while legal proceedings are conducted.
Temporary child support orders can be modified or rescinded at any time.
However, any court orders modifying or terminating a temporary child support
order cannot retroactively change any amounts that have accrued before
filing the modification request.
Final or “Permanent” Child Support
Upon conclusion of the trial, a court will issue final orders regarding
child support that remain in effect beyond the scope of the initial divorce
proceedings. Final child support orders are what requires divorced or
separated parents to continue paying up until the child turns 18.
Ordinarily, the terms of a child support order depend on the parent’s
rights regarding custody. Legally, both parents owe a duty to financially
support a child. However, when one parent has primary custody of the child,
they will be spending money on groceries, rent, medical care, and educational expenses.
However, the child does not directly benefit from payments that a noncustodial
parent makes to cover their own living expenses. As a result, the noncustodial
parent must pay their share of support to supplement what the custodial
parent is paying to care for their child on a regular basis.
It’s possible that the terms of a final custody order will differ
from any temporary custody orders that were in effect during trial. Furthermore,
evidence relevant to the determination of final child support often comes
out after the court issues temporary orders. A final order for child support
may include amounts that cover any significant disparities between interim
and final support orders.
Temporary Spousal Support
Courts may issue temporary orders requiring one spouse to provide financial
assistance to the other spouse while divorce litigation proceeds through
court. Like temporary child support, temporary orders for
spousal support are meant to continue the status quo throughout divorce proceedings.
Temporary spousal support orders are most appropriate in cases where one
spouse was the “bread-winner,” and the other spouse hasn’t
worked for a long time. Without temporary spousal support, there would
be a substantial disparity in financial resources between the parties.
This could prejudice the interests of the less financially resourceful
spouse throughout the litigation, as they would be saddled with the challenge
of securing gainful employment while simultaneously litigating their divorce in court.
Temporary spousal support orders can also be modified or revoked at any
time, except with regard to amounts already accrued.
Final Spousal Support
At the conclusion of divorce proceedings, the court will issue its final
judgment, including final spousal support orders that will be in effect
after the divorce. The primary difference between temporary and final
spousal support orders involves the purpose for which the court issues
them. Unlike tempory orders for spousal support, final orders are concerned
with helping the financially disadvantaged spouse transition from married
life to financial independence.
In some cases, where one spouse cannot reasonably be expected to find a
job or other substitute source of income, the court will order permanent
spousal support. An award of permanent spousal support is appropriate
in marriages that lasted for at least ten years, and is meant to allow
the supported spouse to cover the expenses associated with the standard
of living the parties achieved during their marriage.
Benefit from the Professional Legal Team at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich
For more information about your rights concerning domestic support upon
divorce, please consult one of our licensed attorneys from Hanson, Gorian,
Bradford & Hanich. We are here to provide helpful legal advice to
guide you through the difficulties of litigating a divorce or other family
law dispute in California.
Call Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich at (951) 687-6003 or visit our
website and complete an
online request form to schedule a consultation about your case today.