Indefinite Spousal Support? Not always.

Gavron warnings. What are they?


When does spousal support end? Is the ex spouse receiving support allowed to live off of spousal support the rest of their lives? Why can’t they get employment? Well, the law understands this and there are built in rules that are meant to be fair to everyone. There has been a recent example of this in the world of celebrities.


David Hasselhoff and his ex-wife, Pamela Bach, were married 16 years before calling it quits. In California family law, this is considered a long-term marriage. David was ordered to pay Pamela spousal support for an undisclosed amount of time. So, when do the payments end?


Well, numerous factors go into determining the length and amount of spousal support. One big factor is the length of the marriage. According to Family Code 4336, marriages of 10 years or more are considered long-term.


Why is the length of marriage so important? Because generally for marriages that are short-term, the court will order support for half the length of the marriage. For long-term marriages, there really isn’t a bright-line rule when the cut-off is. Court’s always retain jurisdiction to terminate spousal support for long-term marriages, but requesting the court to terminate spousal support could be after a long time.


How does the law prevent of long-term spousal support? A Gavron warning, named after the case Marriage of Gavron, is a notice issued by the court to the party receiving support stating that they must become self-supporting within a reasonable amount of time. What is reasonable? Again, this depends on the circumstances of the supported party. Do they have marketable skills to be able to get back into the workforce, do they have an education, can they work, did they mainly perform domestic duties or did they work during the marriage?


Courts have discretion to order Gavron warnings in both long-term and short-term marriages. Sometimes, court’s will find it unnecessary to make the warning due to the specific circumstances of the case.


In short-term marriages, a reasonable time is typically one-half length of the marriage. For example, for a 4-year marriage, if a Gavron is issued, the supported will have 2 years to become self-supporting.


Hasselhoff’s argument is that he’s paid enough spousal support and that its time for his ex-wife to be self-supporting. The ex-wife’s argument is that she did so much work for Hasselhoff during the marriage, she gave up the ability to work for herself. Further, she’s arguing that she is attempting to get back into work. The court will ultimately have to decide when spousal support payments will end.


If your case involves a long or short term marriage and spousal support, call us at 619-773-7333 to discuss the specificities of your case and what outcomes you can expect.

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