Considerations In Determining Spousal Support
Spousal 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.
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