More Women Are Paying Alimony Today

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county spousal support; The Maggio Law FirmThings have changed drastically in the workplace with an increasing number of women being seen in high-level positions in the corporate sector today. In fact, according to statistics, women are found to be the top earning members in about one-third of the marriages.

As a massive number of marriages are found to end in a divorce today, this change has led to another key transformation. There is an emerging, growing and new trend of many women paying for their child support or alimony to their former husbands. The meaning of equal rights is that an ex-husband may demand alimony if his wife is the family’s major breadwinner.

About 56 percent of the divorce attorneys in the US have witnessed a surge in the number of moms paying for child support, especially in the past 3 years. 47 percent of the divorce lawyers observed an increase in the number of females paying alimony to their former spouses. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers came up with these interesting statistics,

If one spouse earns significantly more than the other spouse, alimony serves the purpose of equalizing both the spouses’ lifestyle when their marriage gets dissolved. The original aim of alimony was to safeguard the interests of that spouse who was not the main bread winner of the family, typically the wife.  Today, alimony is much more gender-neutral and it’s the disparity of income between the spouses that determines spousal support.

What is the significance of this for those women with rising careers?

Though planning for a divorce goes against the principle of a happy marriage, you need to understand the effect of your salary increase. It is applicable for different kinds of situations ranging from taxes to retirement. Hence proper financial planning should start while taking into account co-mingling assets.

When is a prenuptial agreement a handy tool?

In a marriage where both the parties and one of them have acquired a great desk of assets, it is a good idea to have a prenuptial agreement so that there is no unpleasantness between the couple in the future. When a couple consults a reputable divorce attorney and a financial advisor prior to exchanging their vows, it helps in understanding what should be included in their prenuptial agreement.

When you create a financial inventory and a balance sheet up front, there could be constructive discussions between both the parties so that both the parties are aware what liabilities and assets are there in the beginning. Such acknowledge may come handy for both the parties that can be used for setting their future shared financial goals.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Seeking Spousal Support In Divorce Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county spousal support; The Maggio Law FirmWhen there is a legal separation or divorce of any couple, it may be ordered by the court to one domestic partner or spouse to pay other a specific quantity of money every month. This money is termed as “spousal support” and “partner support” for the married couples and domestic partnerships respectively. It is occasionally referred to as “alimony”.

Do understand that partner and spousal support issues can be extremely difficult.  The firm will assist you to comprehend partner or spousal support and the duration this support will last and the way it will affect the taxes. You will also be helped to calculate partner or spousal support. It will also prepare the necessary court forms.

A court case is needed to establish partner or spousal support. The judge can be requested by the domestic partner or spouse to make a partner or spousal support as a component of one of these kinds of cases like annulment, divorce or a legal separation. It also includes a restraining order involving domestic violence.  It is possible to request a partner or spousal support while the case continues. This is termed a “temporary spousal support order.” The support can also be ordered once there is a finalization of legal separation, as part of the final separation judgment or final divorce. When this is done, it is termed “permanent partner or spousal support.”

Calculating support 

For such temporary partner or spousal support, the judges in local courts usually employ a formula to calculate an amount. The courts in the different counties could use a few other factors to calculate temporary support. A formula will not be used by the judge to calculate how much partner or spousal support is needed to complete the case.

To determine long-term support in a divorce judgment, the judge should consider factors included in the California Family Code section 4320. The list of such factors include the length of domestic partnership or marriage and what each person making up the marriage requires based on the existing living standards during the marriage. The judge will also take into account what each partner can pay or pats to maintain the living standards he or she had during the partnership or marriage.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Timing Your Divorce Right: The Ten-Year Rule

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmUnder California law, the lower-earning spouse getting a divorce may be entitled to spousal support for a longer term if he/she has been married to their current partner for ten years or more.  If they have been married for less than ten years, spousal support is generally limited to a duration that is equal to half the length of the marriage.

Sounds a tad confusing? Let us illustrate it with the help of an example.

A and B are going through tough times and considering a divorce. A is the higher-earning spouse here, so it is A who is expected to pay alimony to B.

  • If they have been married for, say 7 years, A needs to pay alimony to B for 3.5 years (three years and six months).
  • If they have been married to each other for 11 years, A’s support obligation will not automatically terminate after half the length of the marriage.

In real life, Mel B (of Spice Girls fame) filed for divorce from producer Stephen Belafonte just short of their 10th anniversary. They would have completed ten years on June 6, 2017. She likely did this to avoid having to pay Belafonte ongoing spousal support with no specified termination date.

Actor Tom Cruise also mentioned in his divorce filing that his marriage to Nicole Kidman lasted only nine years and eleven months. It is believed that he did so for the same reason.

So if you are considering a divorce, ask yourself: How long have you been married to your present spouse?

If you expect to receive alimony, perhaps it would be a good idea to wait until your 10th wedding anniversary. That is assuming you haven’t celebrated it already. Who knows, you just might be able to put your differences aside and enjoy true marital bliss if you wait it out. You might not even want a divorce by then.

If you are the higher-earning spouse and will be expected to pay alimony, don’t wait until your 10th wedding anniversary if you are truly unhappy in your marriage and divorce seems inevitable. The sooner you get out, the better – you will end up paying lesser as support.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

What You Need to Know About Alimony Before Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county spousal support; The Maggio Law FirmWhen you are facing a divorce, you need to be prepared for the reality i.e. alimony payments to your spouse. There are some countries or states that refer to alimony also as “maintenance” or “spousal support”. This is an active component of the divorce system of many countries all over the world. In case your earning is significantly higher than that of your spouse and both of you are married for several years, there is a lot of possibilities that you have to pay alimony to your ex-spouse after your divorce comes through. But, if the marriage has lasted for only a short duration, the court may not order for the alimony. Moreover, when you and your spouse are earning almost the same amount of money, you may not be required to pay alimony.

But in case the court has asked you to pay alimony, you need to pay a specified amount of money every month until the time:

  • Your ex-spouse gets married again
  • The judge sets a date many years in the future
  • Your kids are no longer in need of a full-time father or mother at home
  • The judge is of the view that even after a reasonable time has passed, your spouse did not make enough efforts to become at least partially self-supporting
  • Any other important event like the occurrence of a retirement that makes the judge revise the alimony amount to be paid to your spouse
  • When any of the ex-spouses dies

Just like any other issues that arise in a divorce, you and your spouse can sit together and sort out the matter related to the amount and duration of the payment of alimony. But, if both of you cannot come to a conclusion and decide to knock the court’s doors, chances are that a trial will take place, which can cost you a lot of money and time.

When you are expected to pay alimony

Simply because you are required to pay alimony to your ex-spouse, it does not mean that you are not a good person. Instead, you should regard it as the expenses of your marriage that you had thought would continue until one of you die. However, that did not happen for-what-so-ever reasons. The history of alimony has been continuing for hundreds of years. Though it is not ordered that frequently these days, it does not mean that the court will stop ordering one of the ex-spouses to pay alimony to the other party for good.

When you are expected to receive alimony

The decision on whether you are entitled to receive alimony or not depends on how much capacity you have to earn. Your earning could have changed from the time you approached the court for receiving your alimony. It also depends on the amount of money earned by your spouse and what was the standard of your living while the marriage lasted. You could be also asked to make some alterations in both your work and life. For instance, in case you are in a part-time job and it does not pay well, you may be needed to look around for a full-time job that is likely to pay you well.

Sometimes, experts known as “vocational evaluators” can be retained in a divorce case to determine the employability and job prospects of a spouse who has not been in a full-time employment for some time now. It is important to discuss this option with your divorce attorney.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Calculating Child Support And Alimony In A Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce attorney; The Maggio Law FirmManaging finances during divorce is a skill every individual who is heading for a divorce needs. It’s better to be mentally prepared for a financial loss than be unprepared at all. First there is the question of property. If you’re someone who has accumulated a lot of wealth during your marriage, then brace yourself for some financial damage unless you claim most of them to be a separate property. Next, if you and your spouse have considerable difference in terms of earnings, you might end up paying a certain amount as alimony. And lastly, if you have children and you lose the custody battle, then you will have to pay for child support too.

Managing finances can be a tough job and that is why you need the help of an expert divorce lawyer. To try to limit financial hardship, calculate your expenses prior to the divorce proceeding.

Calculating child support

Child support is the money you pay for your child’s education and welfare till he/she turns 18. In few cases, the support can continue till the age of 21. The amount that you need to pay for child support depends on many factors. Your annual income plays a deciding factor and so does your ability to take debts. If you’re the non-custodial parent, then prepare yourself to pay more than your spouse. Other important factors which the court will look at is the age of your child and who is paying for the health insurance.

Calculating Alimony

Usually alimony is calculated after child support. The court will look at your financial capability to support your spouse after you have paid for child support. Unlike child support which is based on what is good for the child, alimony calculations are based on how much you can provide to your ex. Factors like income, property and child support is taken into consideration while calculating alimony.

Conclusion

It is important to manage your finances during divorce. It should be done through an experienced divorce lawyer because it not unusual to lose a lot of money during divorce and only a lawyer can help you take the best decision. Calculating your alimony and child support expenses will help you make good decisions regarding finances. Bankruptcy is one of the major pitfalls of divorce and good financial management is only way to survive it.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Can Spouses Convicted Of Domestic Violence Get Alimony?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

restraining orders Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmDomestic violence is an unpleasant subject and has plagued the lives of many couples. The number of domestic violence cases are more than that which get reported every year. Domestic violence is often one of the grounds on which one spouse seeks divorce. In California, domestic violence can mean many different things and you should carefully read through the California law before proceeding with the case.

Domestic violence in California

California is a “no-fault” state but in certain cases like domestic violence fault is a factor. In California, fault is thoroughly examined when spousal supports are determined in a domestic violence case.

California law states that after divorce the higher earner must support the lower earner. But in domestic violence cases, this law can be overlooked. For example, if domestic violence charges are against a spouse who earns lower then, after divorce, the other spouse need to provide spousal support.

California Family Code section 4323 clearly states that spousal support won’t be given if a spouse is charged and found guilty of domestic violence. In a standard divorce, the low-earner receives spousal support unless he/she is charged with domestic violence. If he/she is found guilty then any monetary compensation or other help will get terminated. One issue is that the marriage must have lasted for at least five years after which the rule stands true. The law is found in some of the states and provides a helping hand to the victims of domestic violence.

Examination by courts

Any domestic violence that has been documented will be examined thoroughly by trial courts. The decision will determine whether spousal support will be provided or not. Trial courts will also consider emotional distress, history of convictions and other problems which might be useful.

In California, domestic violence includes a wide range of problems. One of them is one spouse disrupting the peace of another. Domestic violence in other states might be only about physical assaults but not in California. Domestic violence is a serious offence in California and even the lightest change in behavior can lead to domestic violence.

False allegations

Can domestic violence be misused by someone? This question can be best answered by a law expert or one who has had extensive experience in dealing with such issues. The judge needs to look at all the evidence provided and after carefully going through the evidence, it will take its decision.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Important Factors Court Look At In Deciding Spousal Support

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmSpousal support or alimony is one of the most burning issues of a divorce or a legal separation. Many a times, the spouse who is required to make a hefty support payment might feel that it is quite unfair for him to carry on with the financial obligation towards their ex spouse even when the actual relationship ends. However, in order to make the alimony settlement with due fairness, there are several considerations that a judge must keep in mind while deciding upon the final verdict.

Duration of the marriage or domestic partnership

In cases involving a long term or permanent spousal support or alimony order, the court of law is obligated to align it with the length of the wedlock or domestic partnership. The basic aim of alimony is to ensure that the spouse receiving the support is able to meet the financial requirements of their sustenance and lifestyle within a stipulated time. The state law of California describes this stipulated time typically as half of the actual duration of the marriage or partnership. However, the same law also provides a discretionary power to the judge to make a deviation from the rule as per the requirement of the individual case.

A major deviation example will be in the case of long term marriages or partnerships that have lasted for a period of 10 years or more. In such cases, the judge has the discretion to entirely do away with the stipulation of an end date for the alimony, which will then carry on for a lifetime.

Domestic violence or abuse

While making a final alimony settlement, the judge is obligated to look for documented accounts or evidences of any domestic violence in the past, between the two parties involved. In case the abusive partner is supposed to make the alimony payments, the judge will evaluate the level of mental and emotional distress that the other partner may have suffered at the hands of their violent spouse.

Apart from this, in the event that a criminally convicted abusive spouse demands an alimony from his or her partner, the court may go for a rebuttable presumption against granting him the right of receiving any spousal or partner support.

There are several other considerations such as tax impact, standard of living, age and health, property and debts, unemployment and the like, that the judge has to account for before announcing a final verdict for alimony.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Understanding Spousal/Partner Support in California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county spousal support; The Maggio Law FirmIn many divorce or legal separation cases, the court of law may arrange for a monthly financial support that one of spouse has to contribute to for his/her partner. The court of law stipulates a fixed amount called spousal support, partner support or alimony which has to be paid by one party to the other on a monthly basis.

When to request for a spousal or partner support?

One of the domestic partners or spouse can file a case for obtaining alimony in the court of law in the event of a divorce, legal separation, annulment or a restraining order for domestic violence. An individual can file a request for support to be paid to him/her even when the case is still pending in the court of law. The aforementioned type of spousal support is often termed as temporary spousal support order. On the other hand, you may also request spousal support as an auxiliary settlement post the final verdict of a divorce or legal separation case. In such cases, it is termed as long term or permanent partner or spousal support.

What happens if an individual falls behind on his spousal support payment?

As the settlement for spousal support is stipulated in a legal court order, it must be followed as per the agreement instructions up until the end date, or for as long as the court doesn’t alter or put an end to it. However, in the event that an individual fails to make the payment, he is charged with a 10% yearly interest on the due amount. If you fall back on your post-due partner or spousal support arrears, the court will order you pay the additional amount along with the monthly support payments. The aforementioned additional amount is referred to as liquidation amount and is contributed towards your due arrears. However, even if you continue with the arrear payment via monthly installments, the yearly interest will still be charged on the balance due amount.

In the event that a court of law finds out that you are intentionally falling behind on your monthly alimony payments even when you have the means and the ability to pay for them, it may charge you with the contempt of court. Such charges can be extremely grave and may even result in you being imprisoned.

Both spousal and partner support are complex legal proceedings which would require you to consult a professional attorney before you file for the same in the court of law.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Requesting a Modification in Spousal Support

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmThere are several such divorce cases, wherein either spouse might want to request a modification in the amount of alimony he or she pays to the other partner. The state laws of California allow an individual to get his spousal support adjusted in due course of time only if the original court order does not carry specific clauses or statements that render the alimony ‘non modifiable’. We are listing a few common situations wherein an individual can request the court to modify his or her alimony.

A mutual agreement with your spouse 

In certain cases, both of the divorce partners might come to a common agreement regarding a modification in the terms of their spousal support. The settlement can be made without the approval of a court of law. However, under some situations the other partner might later refuse to accept the new terms and conditions of the modified agreement. It is therefore advisable to get your new agreement signed by a judge, in order to make it enforceable by the court of law and legally binding upon both the partners in agreement.

The cost of living adjustment clause

By incorporating a COLA or cost of living adjustment clause in your original divorce decree, you can ensure that the alimony payments you receive will be increasing at a rate equivalent to the increasing annual rate of cost of living. The COLA clause will not only ensure that you receive suitable payments as per the changing economy around you, but also minimize any conflicts or disputes arising out of a need for modifications.

The escalator clause

An inclusion of the escalator clause in the original divorce decree ensures that you are automatically entitled to receiving a share of an increase in your partner’s earnings. For example, if your ex-spouse serves in the armed forces and is entitled to an annual raise in his cost of living, you will by default receive a specific portion of that raise.

Temporary situational modifications

If in case, the recipient of the alimony falls ill or loses a job, the court of law has the discretion to increase the support payments for the time period of the unforeseen contingency. On the other hand, if the payer loses a job or falls ill, he can also request the court to reduce the support payments for a specific period of time. These modifications however are temporary, and revert back to the original terms once the individual returns to his normal life.

If in case, you think that the support that you pay or receive is too huge or too little respectively, you can consult your attorney and go ahead with the proceedings as per your state laws.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Who Pays Alimony in Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmEvery time you hear the word ‘alimony,’ you are probably thinking of a man writing out all of his monthly salaries off to his vengeful ex-wife. It is normally taken to be that way in popular culture. Movies and TV shows often use this as a device for easy comedy. The loser husband going broke every month while the woman in question has an easy life spending all that money. It works as a plot device, but in real life, this is not the case. In fact, in a lot of ways, it can be quite misleading. If you think that alimony is something the man pays his ex-wife by default, you may be wrong.

The standard of living (of the marriage) 

One of the key things that are used to measure what a marriage is worth and how alimony is calculated is the standard of living, in this case, of the marriage. It is also the key to finding out if there will be any alimony at all. Standard of living is an economics concept, and it is used to find out whether the couple would be able to live by themselves, in the same or similar economic standing as they were able to when they got married, after divorce. The law is simple so far. If one person makes all the income and the other is a stay-at-home spouse, then the person who is employed will have to share a part of their income with the non-earning member. If there is no sharing, the earning member will end up with a lot more disposable income than that of the non-earning member whose standard of living will drop drastically. The concept of alimony is designed to protect the standing of the non-earning member.

The courts decide what the alimony amount will be and for how long it will have to be paid. In many cases, it will extend until a specified period, within which the recipient can find their own employment and sustenance.

It is important to remember that apart from extraordinary cases where one member has a sudden spike in income, it is almost impossible to return to the same standard of living levels that the couple enjoyed as a family. That is simply because it is costlier to run two households than it is to run one. The concept of alimony is simply there to make this downgrade as soft as possible.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.   

 
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