California Family Code Section 4320

Section 4320 provides: "In ordering spousal support under this part, the court shall consider all of the following circumstances: (a) The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into account all of the following: (1) The marketable skills of the supported party; the job market for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire other, more marketable skills or employment. (2) The extent to which the supported party's present or future earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment that were incurred during the marriage to permit the supported party to devote time to domestic duties. (b) The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party. (c) The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party's earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living. (d) The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage. (e) The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party. (f) The duration of the marriage. (g) The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party. (h) The age and health of the parties. (i) Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence . . . between the parties . . . . (j) The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party. (k) The balance of the hardships to each party. (l) The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. . . . (m) The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse . . . . (n) Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable." In Alan S. v. Superior Court (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 238, the Court explained: "Reading section 2032 together with section 4320, one cannot escape the idea that a pendente lite fee award should be the product of a nuanced process in which the trial court should try to get the 'big picture' of the case, i.e., 'the relative circumstances of the respective parties' as the statute puts it." Making a pendente lite attorney fee order is not "a truncated process where the trial court simply (a) ascertains which party has the higher nominal income relative to the other, and then (b) massages the fee request of the lesser-income party into some manageable amount that feels like it will pass an abuse of discretion test." (Ibid.) In assessing one party's needs, and the other party's ability to pay, the trial court may consider evidence concerning the parties' current incomes, assets, and abilities, including investment and income-producing properties. (In re Marriage of Drake (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 1139, 1167.) "While no particular language is required in an order awarding attorney fees under sections 2030 and 2032, the record (including, but not limited to, the order itself), must reflect an actual exercise of discretion and a consideration of the statutory factors in the exercise of that discretion." (Alan S., supra, 172 Cal.App.4th at p. 254.)