In their highly publicized divorce, actors Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher have finally reached a settlement. According to reports, both parties are satisfied with the agreement and have signed the paperwork to end their marriage. While they were only married for six years, it took the two famous actors two years to resolve their differences, many of them financial. One of the contested issues was Moore's request for spousal support. Under California law, when a couple divorces or enters into a legal separation, a court may find it appropriate to order one spouse to pay the other a certain amount of money each month.
In an earlier blog post, we reported on the two actors' separate filings for divorce. Moore, who is 50-years-old, asked Kutcher for spousal support and, to pay her attorney's fees, despite that she is worth (financially) more than he is. This case seems to be more about hurt feelings than any real financial need: Kutcher was thought to be having an affair with a 23-year-old woman right before their separation. Contrary to this scenario, most spousal support cases involve one spouse's financial need to maintain the marital standard of living.
In San Diego County, there are no legal guidelines for courts to follow when rendering an award of spousal support. Therefore, when a couple is considering a divorce, it is extremely important to consult with, and ultimately hire, a widely experienced, local family law attorney. The California court system sets forth procedural steps to follow when seeking spousal support. The very first item is to initiate a divorce or legal separation case with the court. As in the Moore/Kutcher divorce, sometimes it takes a great deal of time to work through the contested issues. Parties may seek a temporary order for spousal support to get through the process until there is a final judgment in the case.