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Oftentimes, a client will come to me in need of financial support from their spouse when initiating a divorce proceeding. This will usually happen in the context of when a client’s spouse makes significantly more money than they do.

Each spouse has a duty to support the other spouse during marriage. Essentially, this implies a duty of financial support to a spouse who may not have the necessary funds to pay their expenses each month. A shortfall can also happen when a spouse is not in control of sufficient community assets to pay their monthly expenses. This lack inability of a spouse to pay their expenses can be shown through the use of an income and expense worksheet which lists the income a spouse receives and the expenses they have for a given month.

Showing that a spouse has expenses which exceed income is only one part of the proof needed to receive temporary support. It must also be shown that the spouse who is to pay spousal support can afford to make payments to the other spouse and, at the same time, provide for themselves. The court will not make an order of temporary support when to do so would make the paying spouse destitute. This is why the proposed paying spouse should prepare their own income and expense worksheet to give the court an accurate picture of both of the spouses’ financial situation.

A client needs to keep in mind that temporary spousal support is different from final spousal support, in that final spousal support demands additional findings and requirements to be entitled to it. However, even though a spouse may not receive final spousal support, they might still be able to establish enough evidence to receive temporary support while their divorce case is pending.