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Orange County Spousal Support Lawyers Helping You With Your Alimony Concerns

When couples divorce, there may be a large disparity in their income and earning capacity. Spousal support is designed to even out the imbalance in their financial means and standard of living.

Spousal support, or alimony, is not granted in every divorce. The petitioning party must demonstrate a need, and the court has some latitude as well. Whether you are seeking or contesting spousal support, skilled legal representation is critical. Maggio Law handles all facets of California divorce, including negotiation and litigation of alimony.

How Spousal Support Is Determined

Spousal support may be granted to a husband or wife who has devoted years as a stay-at-home parent or where there is a significant disparity in their income. When a marital separation first occurs, temporary spousal support may be required to help the dependent spouse through the transition from a dependent spouse to a self-supporting single parent. The longer a marriage has lasted, the better the chance that permanent or long-term spousal support will be established by the court.

The court considers many factors when determining whether to award spousal support, such as:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The income and assets of each party
  • The accustomed standard of living during the marriage
  • The education and marketable skills of the dependent spouse
  • The age and health of both spouses
  • A history of domestic violence in the marriage
  • Ability to pay support and tax implications to both

In many cases, a family law court will award short-term spousal support to allow the dependent spouse to go back to school and obtain training for a new career with the goal of ultimate self-sufficiency. Spousal support can also be granted as reimbursement to the dependent spouse for sacrifices and financial support of the high-earning spouse during medical school, business startup or another career development.

How Long Does Alimony Last?

The rule of thumb for the duration of spousal support is half the length of the marriage. If you were married for 10 years, for example, alimony would be paid for no more than five years. However, the court can deviate up or down from that presumptive term. “Permanent” alimony is typically awarded only in long-term marriages where one spouse did not work outside the home or cannot support themselves for health reasons. Alimony can also be terminated when a spouse remarries or is cohabiting (living together) with a new partner.

Is Alimony Taxable?

Alimony is a taxable exchange of money for both the paying and receiving party. The receiving party does need to report this money as income, and the person paying it can deduct these payments from their taxes.

Can Your Spousal Support Amount Change?

If you or your ex-spouse files a motion to modify the spousal support, it is possible for it to change. However, there needs to be a valid reason for the change, such as either person becoming disabled, remarried, unemployed, promoted or retired.

What Are The Differences Between Permanent And Temporary Alimony In California?

Temporary alimony is the result of a party motioning for temporary support in a divorce, and will eventually expire. Permanent alimony is part of a judgment that a judge offers in a trial or by agreement of other parties in a negotiation, and this payment will last indefinitely.

Can You Sue For Alimony After Your Divorce Was Finalized?

As long as a court has retained jurisdiction over alimony, you can pursue alimony after your divorce. We can help you through the process of seeking this income.

Can A Working Ex-Spouse Receive Spousal Support?

Most of the time, people assume that spousal support payments can only be awarded to a spouse who has no income, like a stay-at-home parent who has not had a career in years. However, alimony can be awarded to a working spouse when there is a big disparity between how much they make and how much the higher-earning spouse makes.

This is not guaranteed. To receive spousal support, the recipient spouse will have to show that they are unable to maintain their standard of living without alimony. The extent to which the lower-earning spouse’s career was impaired by their contributions to the household and marital unit as a caregiver or homemaker may be considered, as well as the better-earning spouse’s ability to pay, among other factors.

What Can Alimony Be Used For?

Support is supposed to prevent the lower-income spouse from facing a drastic decline in lifestyle post-divorce. This alimony arrangement is designed to help with housing costs, clothing, food and other essentials.

In many cases, temporary spousal support is ordered before the divorce is final so that the dependent spouse can still afford the necessities and attorney fees. Long-term spousal support modifications can be imposed after the divorce ends can be for other purposes, including giving the dependent spouse time to transition to financial independence. A spousal support attorney can help you learn more.

What Is A Gavron Warning?

Often, the court will award spousal support payments on the basis that the receiving spouse makes a meaningful effort to become self-sufficient. Where no progress has been made, the judge may issue a Gavron warning. The law in this area is governed by California Family Code Section 4430, and a spousal support lawyer can help you better understand its meaning in your case.

The Penalties For Refusal To Pay Spousal Support

Child support orders are legally binding. Without a spousal support modification, missed payments can result in legal penalties. Potential penalties include criminal charges and civil claims. The IRS may also be notified, leading to certain tax consequences, such as having to pay down the owed support.

Can You Establish A Spousal Support Agreement Without Going To Court?

Absolutely. Divorcing couples are encouraged to work out the details of their marital split between themselves, and many do. There are numerous advantages to that approach since couples can be more creative about the terms of their agreements. This includes looking at the tax ramifications of different approaches to payment and what assets might be traded in lieu of support.

Going to court is actually the last resort after all reasonable attempts to negotiate a fair spousal support agreement have failed. If you and your spouse can come to a fair agreement on all the terms of support, the judge in your case will likely accept the arrangement and make it a court order.

How Can Child Support Payments Affect Spousal Support Payments?

It is not uncommon for a higher earning spouse to pay both child support and spousal support. In general, child support takes precedence over spousal support and is always paid first.

Since spousal support is partially defined by the higher earning spouse’s ability to pay, their spousal support order may be affected by their child support obligations. The uncertainty this can cause may encourage dependent spouses to consider lump-sum support when possible.

What Are The Benefits Of Working With An Orange County Spousal Support Attorney?

Your spousal support attorney can help you understand the types of spousal support (temporary and permanent) and what that means. Whether you are the lower earning spouse or the spouse who expects to pay support for some period of time, your attorney can advocate for you to make sure that the agreement is ultimately reasonable and fair.

With the benefit of long experience, your spousal support attorney may also be able to suggest solutions that you might not otherwise consider. At Maggio Law, our spousal support attorneys offer straightforward guidance and detail-oriented results.

Find Out Where You Stand And How We Can Help

Spousal support can be a boon or burden, but it is just one facet of divorce. Our lawyers can advocate for or against spousal support, while also taking the big-picture approach regarding asset division, child custody and other issues. We work to ensure that the court has good information and that you are treated fairly in the determination of alimony.

Arrange a consultation with one of our knowledgeable spousal support lawyers. Call the Irvine office of Maggio Law at 949-227-3001 or contact us online.