What is a spouse’s right to custody and spousal/child support if they do not have a job?

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What is a spouse’s right to custody and spousal/child support if they do not have a job?

My sister is in the beginning stages of splitting with her husband of 3 years. He is moving out of their home in a few days. She is planning on filing for divorce but wants to know the implications on her future. She is 4 months pregnant and not currently working and fulling covered financially by her husband. Her main concern/question is how can she obtain full custody/visitation rights for her baby when he/she is born? She also needs info for all resources available to her financially through this pregnancy and beyond as a single non-working mom.

Asked on July 25, 2011 California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

California courts have broad discretion in determining both the amount and length of spousal support.  The courts do not favor a permanentt award.  The duration of spousal support is closely linked to the length of the marriage.   In marriages under 10 years the court bound by the statute that covers spousal support and provides a presumption that support should be granted for half the length of the marriage.  A marriage in excess of 10 years is  considered a lengthy marriage.  The  impending birth of their child is one of the factors the court will consider in determining support here as well as their life style during the marriage, the financial position of each, etc.  The factors are too numerous to state here.  As for custody, her husband has the same legal rights to their child as she does and courts frown on full custody to one parent or the other.  This is different than being the "custodial parent" which means who the child lives with on a regular basis and who has visitation.  She needs to seek legal counsel here.  Good luck.


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