Spousal Support: What’s Fair vs. Reality

The dissolution of a marriage is a terrible thing for all involved – the spouses, their children, if any, and their intertwined friends and relatives.  For the people involved it often doesn’t make any difference how long the marriage lasted – a divorce after three years feels just as miserable as a divorce after thirty.  But when it comes to determining spousal support, allowing the court to decide instead of engaging a divorce mediator in Pleasant Hill California is often a mistake.

Defining a Reasonable Length

The court has a lot of discretion when it comes to determining the amount and the duration of spousal support.  This determination often seems unfair to one or even both spouses, as they feel their contributions to the marriage are not being valued (in cases where one spouse gave up a career or made other material sacrifices for the marriage) or that the contributions of the other spouse are being over-valued.

The court follows the guideline of determining “a reasonable length of time” for support duration.  For marriages under 10 years, this is presumptively (but not always) half the duration of the marriage, after which the recipient spouse will be expected to support him/herself.  For longer marriages it can be much longer, and even in rare cases for life.

Mediating Support

A divorce mediator in Pleasant Hill California is often a much better choice for working out support issues.  Mediation as a process keeps much of the control in the hands of the spouses themselves, who can negotiate a much more personally-tailored support agreement with the expert guidance of the divorce mediator in Pleasant Hill California.  Such agreements are often more acceptable to both parties as they feel they have been able to make their case while retaining control over the outcome.