Will There Be Spousal Support (Alimony) In Your California Divorce?
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 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.
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.