Spouses who are going through a divorce do not necessarily have to go to court to fight over whether one of them deserves spousal support and how much. In California, the spouses have the option to negotiate and sign a support agreement and have a judge review it to ensure that it is fair. The preparation of such an agreement can be done with the help of a court facilitator if the parties so desire. This facilitator may explain how spousal support works and what each spouse’s rights are. Looking at Form FL-157, which is a declaration attachment, gives spouses an understanding of the factors that a judge considers in a spousal support decision.

Part of writing up an agreement involves determining how much spousal support a party will receive and for how long. The method in which the payments are made is also included, whether it be handled through automatic paycheck deductions or payments made directly from one party to the other. Since there is no form specifically used for spousal support agreements, the parties need to write their own and include it in the overall divorce settlement.

Once the agreement is written, the parties both have to sign it. After that, the agreement is sent to a judge for review. They may need to submit copies along with the original, so they should ask the court clerk about that. The judge signs the agreement if it is fair, and any copies are returned to the spouses with a “Filed” stamp.

While support agreements are generally thought of as being between two divorcing spouses, they could also be made between two domestic separating partners. Although the individuals may ask a court facilitator for help, their lawyers could help them write up a support agreement as well.

Source: California Courts, “Spousal/Partner Support“, November 10, 2014