How is Alimony Calculated?
When a couple files for a divorce and the proceedings have begun, the court may be inclined to award one of the former spouses alimony based on a decision it makes or an agreement that has been reached by the couple.
Alimony or spousal support can be described as a support system that limits the unfair economic effects that a divorce could have on the spouse who is unemployed or earns lesser among the two by paying a continuing income.
One justification for the alimony is that one of the spouses may have decided to step back from a career to support the family and will need time to hone their skills to be able to find a job to support themselves. Another reason behind alimony is to help the recipient continue living with the same standards as they had during the marriage.
How is alimony determined?
Alimony is very different from child support, which is mandated with specific monetary guidelines. Courts have much broader brackets to consider while determining whether alimony should be awarded and how much and for how long should the process run. Courts consider certain factors while deciding on alimony awards. They are:
- The age, physical and emotional health, and financial status of the former spouses
- The duration of time the recipient spouse would require to becoming self-sufficient
- The length of the marriage
- The spouses’ standard of living during the course of the marriage
- The ability of the payer spouse to support both the recipient and themselves
With alimony awards, it could be hard to estimate if the payer spouse will follow orders. Unlike child support enforcement which is governed by a several legal mechanisms, alimony is not covered by such umbrellas.
But if the spouse doesn’t pay, the recipient could always go to court and file a contempt proceeding forcing the spouse to make payments. Since a court can award alimony, there are court mechanisms to enforce the alimony award, in case the alimony is withheld.
How long should a spouse be paid alimony?
Under California law, for a marriage under 10 years in duration, the spousal support will last for approximately one-half the duration of the marriage. For a marriage over 10 years in duration, the court will have continuing jurisdiction over the issue of spousal support with no specific termination date, but can be revisited as circumstances change over time. If the decree does not mention when the alimony is to end, the payments should continue until the court decides. In most cases, the payments end when the recipient remarries.
Different states have slightly different rules regarding spousal support. If you want to learn more about alimony in Orange County, consult a divorce attorney.
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