Does a history of domestic violence impact spousal support?

The cost of living in California is high, and many people stay in an unhappy marriage longer than they should simply because they are afraid they won’t be able to afford to live independently. Unfortunately, this can also be true for people staying in an abusive relationship.

It’s important for these victims to know that courts will seriously consider a history of domestic violence when they are deciding the outcome of a divorce. Domestic violence could even lead the victims to a more generous spousal support order.

Knowing about spousal support laws from the outset can give those who were abused a guideline with what they can expect in the case.

State spousal support will address the specific circumstances of a case

The standard of living is a key part of determining spousal support whether there was domestic violence or not. In high-asset cases where one person had vast holdings and earned most or all income, the non-earning party will receive an award that will let them live the way they did – financially – during the marriage.

The law accounts for the receiving party’s education and skills and if they can gain training to achieve the same lifestyle they had during the marriage. Their earning capacity could be negatively impacted by not working for an extended period. This too will be considered. Other factors are the ability of the paying party to pay, their ages and health.

When there was domestic violence, the court will look at the allegations and see if there was:

  • A plea of nolo contendre (“no contest”)
  • The emotional aftermath from the abuse
  • Abuse from the supported party against the supporting party
  • Protective orders
  • Domestic violence while the case was pending

There can also be an order for the victim’s legal fees to be paid from community property.

Legal guidance should be tailored to the details of the case

There are ways to get out of the marriage and receive a spousal support award that is commensurate with their situation based on state law.

Contacting legal professionals whose skills are specifically directed to these types of cases can be a key factor in achieving a fair outcome that compensates them for what they faced as part of the marriage. Doing so immediately can start the process toward ending the marriage and moving on from the abuse with a fresh start.