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The Amount of Temporary Spousal Support is Not Restricted to an Amount Necessary to Maintain a Frugal Marital Standard of Living if it Was Lower than the Spouse’s Financial Circumstances During the Marriage Would Have Allowed

Pending the divorce of a 22-year old marriage, wife’s divorce lawyer filed a motion for temporary spousal support. In response, husband agreed to pay spousal support pursuant to the divorce court’s guideline formula. Through stipulation, husband agreed to pay wife $4,033 per month from September through December, 1990.Husband bought a home for $395,000 with community property. Wife received $114,000, and the current home valued at $300,000 to equalize the assets.

Wife’s divorce attorney filed a trial brief arguing that the temporary spousal support guidelines should be applied in determining the amount of a spousal support award. Wife’s divorce lawyer claimed that Wife was entitled to continue the investment program that existed during the marriage. Husband’s family law attorney requested that wife be granted spousal support consistent with her standard of living during the marriage and taking into account passive income from community assets. The divorce court determined that husband would owe wife temporary spousal support of $6,807 per month. The court noted that husband proposed that wife to be granted a low level of spousal support because they had lived “frugally” during their marriage.

Upon review, the court found that the divorce court did not abuse its discretion it’s award of spousal support. Temporary spousal support is intended to maintain the living conditions of the parties. The court explained that wife should not be deprived of her accustomed lifestyle because the couple chose to invest in stocks and bonds, and live frugally during the course of their marriage as opposed to spending the money on expenses. The court ultimately found that husband had the means to pay the guideline formula support amount. Thus, the court agreed with wife’s divorce lawyer and upheld the divorce court’s guideline award of spousal support which exceeded her basic needs.

In re Marriage of Winter (1992) 7 Cal. App. 4th 1926