Men's Rights to Spousal Support for Assets & Debts in a Divorce in California

By David Montoya

Due to societal norms, men may think the court system disfavors granting spousal support to a husband upon divorce. On the contrary, California law focuses on financial need and not the sex of divorcing spouses when awarding spousal support based on a couple's assets and debts. As a result, husbands facing divorce in California must determine their rights in order to attain the maximum amount of spousal support under the law.

Calculating Spousal Support

A number of factors affect the amount of spousal support a husband may get from his wife. For example, a husband's earning potential, relative health, lifestyle during the marriage, and domestic violence all play a part in the court's calculation of spousal support. All these factors come into consideration because California's family law courts must conduct an extensive balancing test to ensure the most equitable outcome.

Temporary Spousal Support

Men have a right to temporary spousal support during divorce proceedings if financial need can be shown. If it is, a court may order the wife to financially support her husband throughout the divorce process. The judge will determine the amount of support based on factors including debts owed, expenses, income, and financial hardship upon the wife.

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Short-Term Spousal Support

A husband has a right to short-term spousal support if divorcing his spouse less than ten years after the marriage began and he can demonstrate financial need. Again, the judge will decide how long the spousal support is to last based on factors such as financial need, debts, assets and the standard of living during the marriage.

Long-Term Spousal Support

In California, a marriage lasting longer than 10 years constitutes a long-term marriage. This creates the potential for a more significant spousal support award in comparison to shorter marriages. Such awards can last for decades depending on the judge's determination.


A husband has the right to enter into his own spousal support agreement with his wife. This process, referred to as a stipulation, negates the need for a judge to make the support determination since both parties reached a signed agreement on their own. Of course, this option only works if the husband and wife cooperate with each other, either directly or through legal representatives, to reach the agreement.

Responsibilities and Change In Circumstances

A husband's right to spousal support does not remain absolute. He must act in good faith, seeking employment to reduce the burden on the paying party. Therefore, a husband cannot forgo full-time employment because he can survive off his spousal support payments. A dramatic improvement in the husband's financial circumstances or an unforeseen financial hardship on the part of the wife may necessitate a change in the spousal support award. The court can change the amount of spousal support upon a showing of good cause. Thus, even though husbands have the right to spousal support, the responsibilities attached to a support award or change in financial circumstances may affect that right.

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