Chapter 3. Spousal Support Upon Dissolution Or Legal Separation of California Family Law Code >> Division 9. >> Part 3. >> Chapter 3.
(a) In a judgment of dissolution of marriage or legal
separation of the parties, the court may order a party to pay for the
support of the other party an amount, for a period of time, that the
court determines is just and reasonable, based on the standard of
living established during the marriage, taking into consideration the
circumstances as provided in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section
(b) When making an order for spousal support, the court may advise
the recipient of support that he or she should make reasonable
efforts to assist in providing for his or her support needs, taking
into account the particular circumstances considered by the court
pursuant to Section 4320, unless, in the case of a marriage of long
duration as provided for in Section 4336, the court decides this
warning is inadvisable.
(a) In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal
separation of the parties, the court may order a party to submit to
an examination by a vocational training counselor. The examination
shall include an assessment of the party's ability to obtain
employment based upon the party's age, health, education, marketable
skills, employment history, and the current availability of
employment opportunities. The focus of the examination shall be on an
assessment of the party's ability to obtain employment that would
allow the party to maintain herself or himself at the marital
standard of living.
(b) The order may be made only on motion, for good cause, and on
notice to the party to be examined and to all parties. The order
shall specify the time, place, manner, conditions, scope of the
examination, and the person or persons by whom it is to be made.
(c) A party who does not comply with an order under this section
is subject to the same consequences provided for failure to comply
with an examination ordered pursuant to Chapter 15 (commencing with
Section 2032.010) of Title 4 of Part 4 of the Code of Civil
(d) "Vocational training counselor" for the purpose of this
section means an individual with sufficient knowledge, skill,
experience, training, or education in interviewing, administering,
and interpreting tests for analysis of marketable skills, formulating
career goals, planning courses of training and study, and assessing
the job market, to qualify as an expert in vocational training under
Section 720 of the Evidence Code.
(e) A vocational training counselor shall have at least the
(1) A master's degree in the behavioral sciences.
(2) Be qualified to administer and interpret inventories for
assessing career potential.
(3) Demonstrated ability in interviewing clients and assessing
marketable skills with understanding of age constraints, physical and
mental health, previous education and experience, and time and
geographic mobility constraints.
(4) Knowledge of current employment conditions, job market, and
wages in the indicated geographic area.
(5) Knowledge of education and training programs in the area with
costs and time plans for these programs.
(f) The court may order the supporting spouse to pay, in addition
to spousal support, the necessary expenses and costs of the
counseling, retraining, or education.
In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal
separation of the parties, the court shall make specific factual
findings with respect to the standard of living during the marriage,
and, at the request of either party, the court shall make appropriate
factual determinations with respect to other circumstances.
An order for spousal support in a proceeding for dissolution
of marriage or for legal separation of the parties may be made
retroactive to the date of filing the notice of motion or order to
show cause, or to any subsequent date.
(a) If a court orders spousal support for a contingent period
of time, the obligation of the supporting party terminates on the
happening of the contingency. The court may, in the order, order the
supported party to notify the supporting party, or the supporting
party's attorney of record, of the happening of the contingency.
(b) If the supported party fails to notify the supporting party,
or the attorney of record of the supporting party, of the happening
of the contingency and continues to accept spousal support payments,
the supported party shall refund payments received that accrued after
the happening of the contingency, except that the overpayments shall
first be applied to spousal support payments that are then in
An order for spousal support terminates at the end of the
period provided in the order and shall not be extended unless the
court retains jurisdiction in the order or under Section 4336.
(a) Except on written agreement of the parties to the
contrary or a court order terminating spousal support, the court
retains jurisdiction indefinitely in a proceeding for dissolution of
marriage or for legal separation of the parties where the marriage is
of long duration.
(b) For the purpose of retaining jurisdiction, there is a
presumption affecting the burden of producing evidence that a
marriage of 10 years or more, from the date of marriage to the date
of separation, is a marriage of long duration. However, the court may
consider periods of separation during the marriage in determining
whether the marriage is in fact of long duration. Nothing in this
subdivision precludes a court from determining that a marriage of
less than 10 years is a marriage of long duration.
(c) Nothing in this section limits the court's discretion to
terminate spousal support in later proceedings on a showing of
(d) This section applies to the following:
(1) A proceeding filed on or after January 1, 1988.
(2) A proceeding pending on January 1, 1988, in which the court
has not entered a permanent spousal support order or in which the
court order is subject to modification.
Except as otherwise agreed by the parties in writing, the
obligation of a party under an order for the support of the other
party terminates upon the death of either party or the remarriage of
the other party.
In the enforcement of an order for spousal support, the court
shall resort to the property described below in the order indicated:
(a) The earnings, income, or accumulations of either spouse, while
living separate and apart from the other spouse, which would have
been community property if the spouse had not been living separate
and apart from the other spouse.
(b) The community property.
(c) The quasi-community property.
(d) The other separate property of the party required to make the
The court may order the supporting party to give reasonable
security for payment of spousal support.