Do I Still Have to Pay Support if My Spouse Works?

For many divorcing couples, spousal support is a sensitive subject, especially if one spouse feels strongly that they were wronged by their husband or wife. The hurt party may not want to support their spouse, especially if that spouse had an affair or squandered the couple’s savings.

What about your situation? How do you feel about paying spousal support? Perhaps your divorce has nothing do with an affair or a spouse with a problem controlling their spending.

Perhaps you both work full-time and now you’re wondering if the judge will order you to pay spousal support even though your spouse has a job. The answer – it depends.

Even though your spouse has a full-time job, they are still entitled to ask for spousal support. They can ask for support once a legal separation or divorce is filed with the court. If the judge deems it necessary, he or she can order you to pay spousal support even while your divorce is pending.

Purpose of Spousal Support

Spousal support is money payed by the higher-earning spouse to support the lower-earning spouse. Under California law, spousal support is not automatic in a divorce. While your spouse is entitled to ask for support, that does not mean the judge will order it.

Let’s say you and your spouse both earn about $75,000 a year. Since you both earn about the same, the chances of the judge ordering you to pay support are slim.

On the other hand, if you earn $150,000 a year and your spouse earns $30,000 a year, the chances of you being ordered to pay support are greater because there is a large discrepancy in income.

When determining if your working spouse is entitled to spousal support, the judge will consider a number of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Each spouse’s income
  • How much support you can afford to pay
  • Both of your debts and property
  • Whether your spouse helped with your education, training, or professional license (e.g. they paid for it)
  • Whether your spouse’s career was affected by unemployment or taking care of the children or home

We hope this information helps. If you have further questions regarding divorce or spousal support, please contact our Los Angeles divorce firm for a free consultation.