Spousal Support

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What is Alimony in California?

Under California law, both men and women wishing to divorce may be entitled to spousal support depending upon their financial circumstances. Spousal support can be awarded to one spouse for a short amount of time, long-term, or to fulfill a specific purpose. When there is a significant variance in the earning potential of one spouse from the other, the spouse who earns less may wish to seek spousal support from the other. Alimony is a monthly payment that covers everyday expenses and ensures the financial security of a person after a divorce or separation.

In a divorce settlement, the issue of spousal support will be addressed by the lawyers working on the case. Spousal support includes monthly payments made by one spouse to another in order to assist the other spouse in their pursuit to become financially independent or to maintain the standard of living that they have been accustomed to. These support payments balance the needs of one spouse with the other's ability to pay.

How is California Spousal Support Calculated?

In some marriages, one partner holds a steady job and is responsible for earning a large percentage of the family’s income while the other partner either works part time or has the duty of caring for children and maintaining the household.

In California, there are a few considerations that are taken when awarding a spousal support including:

Financials of each spouse before and after the split
Ability to work and income potential based on age and education
Duration of the marriage
Ability of one spouse to pay the other and maintain standard of living
Financial obligations to other dependents
Reasonable needs of each of the spouses based on age and health
Assets awarded in the divorce settlement
Income tax consequences
Each spouse's separate property, assets, and financial obligations
Whether one spouse helped the other obtain a degree, a career, or a professional license
The supported spouse's ability to care for the children while working
Whether the supported spouse's earning capacity is impaired because of extended periods of unemployment while caring for the home or children
The balance of hardship between the spouses
Spousal support lengths can vary. A judge will award spousal support for a determined length of time until the both spouses can be self-sufficient in their earnings. A settlement agreement will highlight the exact stipulations of the divorce which will remain final, unless a modification or termination of support is requested.

Spousal Support Modification in CA

To request an alteration or end to spousal support payments, a written document agreed upon by both parties must be submitted to a judge. This document must provide evidence supporting the claim of a substantial change in circumstances. The court will then evaluate the evidence and make a determination regarding the modification.

Some examples of qualifying circumstances include:

Change in Income: If either spouse experiences a significant increase or decrease in income, such as through a job loss, promotion, or a change in earning capacity, it may be grounds for modifying the spousal support order. Change in Expenses: If the expenses of either spouse significantly increase or decrease, such as due to health issues, changes in housing costs, or financial obligations, it may justify a modification. Remarriage or Cohabitation: If the supported spouse remarries or enters into a new supportive relationship akin to marriage (cohabitation), it may be a basis for terminating or modifying spousal support. Retirement: If the paying spouse reaches retirement age and experiences a decrease in income or the supported spouse reaches retirement age and has independent means of support, it could be grounds for modifying the spousal support order.

What Are the Different Types of Spousal Support in California?

In California, spousal support, also known as alimony, is the financial assistance provided from one spouse to another during and/or after a divorce or legal separation.

There are several types of spousal support arrangements recognized in California:

Temporary Spousal Support: This type of support is awarded during the divorce or separation proceedings and is intended to maintain the financial status quo until a final spousal support order is determined.

Permanent Spousal Support: Contrary to its name, permanent spousal support does not necessarily mean lifelong support. It refers to support that is awarded for an indefinite duration until further court order or until the supported spouse remarries or either spouse passes away.

Rehabilitative Spousal Support: This type of support is granted to assist the supported spouse in acquiring education, training, or skills necessary to become self-supporting. It aims to provide financial support for a limited period to allow the recipient spouse to become financially independent.

Reimbursement Spousal Support: Reimbursement support is awarded when one spouse has made significant contributions to the other spouse's education, career development, or professional training during the marriage. It aims to reimburse the supporting spouse for the expenses incurred.

Lump-Sum Spousal Support: In some cases, spouses may agree to a one-time payment or a series of payments to satisfy their spousal support obligations instead of providing ongoing monthly payments.

If you are interested in obtaining spousal support following the dissolution of your marriage, or if you want to make sure your rights are protected, call our team at Armando Villegas & Associates.