Alimony In Divorce Litigation
When spouses cannot come to an agreement about spousal support, the issue can be decided in the courtroom.
The judge will evaluate a list of factorsincluding the following:
- The marketable skills of the supported spouse
- The time and expense required for the supported spouse to acquire education or develop skills for potential employment
- The extent to which the supported spouse did not work or was underemployed so they could devote their time to the home and family
- The level to which the supported spouse contributed toward the paying spouses education or career
- The paying spouse’s ability to pay alimony
- The standard of living established in the marriage
- The assets and debt obligations of both spouses
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of spouses
- The tax consequences for each spouse
Except in certain circumstances, the goal of alimony is for the spouse to become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time.
Can I Modify A Spousal Support Order
In general, a spousal support order can be modified unless both parties previously agreed that it may not be modified or revoked. In addition, awards of a fixed duration cannot be modified/extended once the deadline has passed.
The court may only modify your spousal support order if the party seeking modification can demonstrate a material change in circumstances since the last order. The change must be substantial and material, such as a decrease in income. In this example, the court may temporarily decrease the support payments until you find a new job.
When Property Division Is Decided By The Courts
When the courts decide on property division, they will look at community versus separate property, the value of all property, and how it can be fairly divided between spouses. If one spouse keeps the family home, for example, the other may get other assets. This is handled on a case by case basis and may vary greatly depending on the specific situation, type of assets, and other factors.
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What You Need To Know About The 10
The 10-year rule is one of the most commonly misunderstood divorce laws in California. Heres what you need to know about the 10-year rule in a California divorce.
The common misconception about the 10-year rule is that if a couple who has been married for more than 10 years gets a divorce, alimony, or spousal support, is required to be paid indefinitely. However, this interpretation of the law, which is found in California Family Code Section 4336, is inaccurate.
Retain Legal Representation For Your Divorce Proceedings
Divorce is life-changing, but it doesnt have to change your life for the worse. You can create a stable future for yourself and your children, if you have any, by taking the right approach and working with an experienced attorney.
Our property division attorneys at the Law Offices of H. William Edgar are devoted to protecting our clients interests. If you come to us for guidance related to property division and spousal support, you can count on the fact that well provide honest insight. Our team understands that each divorce is unique and must be treated as such. A lawyer at our divorce law firm will fight to secure fair results.
Call today to talk to a property division lawyer about your divorce case. We have offices in Temecula, Palm Desert, Riverside, and Anaheim to serve you.
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How Long Will I Pay Or Receive Spousal Support
- The length of spousal support is based on a reasonable transition period from married life to single and self-sufficient life.
- The duration of support depends on in part on the length of the marriage. For marriages lasting less than ten years, the length of support is presumed to be equal to one-half of the time. For example, for a marriage that lasted eight years, the presumption is that the appropriate length of support is four years.
- If you are married for longer than 10 years, the lesser earning spouse will receive support for as long as he or she needs to, as long as the other spouse is able to pay. There is no automatic termination date.
Court Retention Of Jurisdiction
The automatic legal rule, triggered by a divorce after 10 or more years of marriage, is that the court retains jurisdiction. This means that the court can continue to monitor the lives of the spouses. As facts change, the court may modify its original orders. For example: Imagine that Fred and Angela divorce after 14 years of marriage and the court orders Fred to pay Angela $30,000 per year in spousal support, for the next 5 years.Angela falls ill. Because the court retains jurisdiction indefinitely, her lawyer could ask the court to modify the spousal support order.
If Fred and Angela had been married for less than 10 years, the court would not automatically retain jurisdiction and thus could not extend the spousal support order or alter the amount involved after the payments end.
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How Much Spousal Support Will Be Ordered
- In California, the Superior Courts of Solano counties have adopted a spousal support guideline called the Santa Clara Guideline formula for use in temporary spousal support. Alameda and Contra Costa counties have adopted the Alameda Guideline formula. The guideline states that the paying spouses support be presumptively 40% of his or her net monthly income, reduced by one-half of the receiving spouses net monthly income. If child support is an issue, spousal support is calculated after child support is calculated.
- Deciding permanent support is a much more detailed process with many factors to be considered. Family Code Section 4320 is the controlling statute that the court must consider in establishing permanent spousal support.
Learn about the steps you’ll take during separation and avoid mistakes along the way. Be better prepared to start your divorce with tailored info from attorney, Cristin Lowe.
Purpose Of Spousal Support
The purpose of spousal support is to enable the supporting party to become self-supporting. Often, a supported spouse has the expectation that they are entitled to support and that it should be forever. The receipt of spousal support and a share of the community property in a divorce does not relieve the supported spouse from their duty to become self supporting and from being accountable for their financial future and the continued need for spousal support.
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Is Alimony Mandatory In California
In California, alimony is not mandatory. However, if one spouse earns significantly more than the other, the court may order them to pay alimony to the lower-earning spouse. Other factors that could influence a courts decision include:
While alimony is not mandatory in California, the court will often order payments based on a number of these factors. Therefore, if youre trying to avoid paying alimony, its essential to be aware of these factors and consider them when making your case.
How Long Must You Be Married Before You Pay Alimony In A California Divorce
After a divorce, spouses go from being a married couple that might act as one financial unit to being two separate people, financially. Many spouses have trouble adapting to this, especially if they are used to their spouses income supplementing their finances or supporting them entirely. When a marriage is especially long, it can be even more difficult to recover from this financial dependence, and you may need spousal support to help you stand on your own. The length of the marriage is one of the major factors that courts look at when deciding whether a spouse should get alimony or spousal support after marriage, but there is no minimum marriage length for alimony. Moreover, the length of the marriage is not the defining factor, and even long marriages may not justify spousal support in every case. The Santa Barbara divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth explain.
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What Are The Types Of Alimony
The state of California has multiple types of alimony:
- Temporary alimony is payment carried out over the course of a divorce case. These payments are done prior to the actual divorce.
- Rehabilitative alimony is short-term support paid to a spouse who is not financially self-sufficient. The purpose is to support them while they receive job training, get an education, or seek better prospects until they can support themselves.
- Permanent alimony is paid indefinitely. The spousal support is paid until the person being supported either dies or remarries. Once they remarry, they no longer are able to receive alimony payments from their past spouse.
- In cases where one spouse covered the cost of the others education, reimbursement alimony can be awarded.
- The final type is called lump-sum alimony. Typically, lump-sum alimony is paid rather than a property settlement. This kind of alimony is paid whether the spouse remarries or starts living with another person.
Los Angeles Spousal Support Attorney
Whether the court will award spousal support and the amount of the spousal support will depend in great part on the legal arguments that are presented to the judge by your experienced Los Angeles spousal support attorney. To help you negotiate or litigate for the best possible terms, you need the knowledge and expertise of a skilled Wallin & Klarich spousal support attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have been successfully representing clients facing California spousal support matters for over 30 years. With offices located in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Victorville, West Covina, Sherman Oaks, Torrance and Ventura , there is a Wallin & Klarich attorney available wherever you happen to live. Call us today at 749-7428. We will be there when you call.
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California Spousal Support Basics: Short Term Versus Long Term Marriages
A popular misconception with spousal support is that once youve been married for at least 10 years, you are automatically entitled to receive or obligated to pay it for the rest of your life. Although the length of your marriage has a significant impact on the duration and sometimes the amount of spousal support you may need to pay or receive, there is no guarantee that spousal support is for life. In California, the law states that for long term marriages, defined as a marriage of at least 10 years, there is a presumption that the court maintains its jurisdiction over the issue of spousal support indefinitely. For short-term marriages, generally defined as marriages of under 10 years, the presumption is that support should last for approximately one-half the length of the marriage.
Short term marriage example: A couple was married for eight years, divorced in California, and as part of the judgment, one spouse was ordered to pay the other person spousal support for four years. After the four years, spousal support reduced to zero and the courts jurisdiction over the issue of spousal support terminated. One month after spousal support ended, the supported spouse was in a car accident and left with large medical bills. Even though the supported spouse was unemployed and without medical insurance, the court had no power to order ongoing spousal support.
Alimony In Divorce Negotiation
Spousal support does not have to be decided in court. If you and your spouse agree about support, the terms can be written into the agreement, signed by a judge, and made part of the final orders in your case. Modifications to an existing spousal order can be completed similarly.
Even when spouses agree,using a skilled attorney is important to ensure alldivorce terms are completed correctly with less chance of creating new issues down the road.
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How Long Does Alimony Last In Florida
Are you going through a divorce in Florida? The court may order alimony against you or your spouse. Courts frequently order Alimony if one spouse will be unable to support themselves after a divorce. You might be wondering how long alimony payments will last. The answer is that it depends. When determining the length of alimony payments, courts consider a number of factors.
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Spousal Support Attorneys In Temecula
Many factors go into the determination of permanent spousal support payments in the state of California. Courts have almost total say in the decision of setting spousal support. An attorney is usually required for individuals who are having trouble resolving the issue of alimony. Your attorney will look at and gather evidence for various factors.
Alimony laws affect nearly every divorce, whether the couple was married for a long time or a short period, whether they have great or modest wealth. These monthly payments are meant to help maintain the standard of living of the lesser earning spouse during a divorce proceeding or after a divorce is finalized .
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Who Pays And How Is The Amount Determined
A higher-earning spouse may be ordered to pay support to the lower-earning party in cases of spousal support. If a couple has only been together for a short duration, spousal support is rarely ordered.
In most cases, the end goal is for the lower wage earner to become self-supporting whenever possible, thus no longer needing the financial support. But this will be completely dependent on the financial and personal circumstances of the couple.
Each spousal support decision by the court is highly nuanced, and a judge must consider all factors in accordance with California Family Code Section 4320, including
- How long the couple was married
- Each spouses age and overall health
- Each spouses marketable skills and the job market available to support them
- The ability of one spouse to pay support to the other
- The possible need for further education or training to enable one partner to be self-supporting
- The possible need for one party to stay at home to raise children
- One partners prior contribution to the furtherance of the others education or career
- Any physical or mental limitations
- Each partys separate income and future earning potential
- Each partys expenses and financial hardships
- Whether children are living at home
- The quality of lifestyle that was enjoyed during the marriage
- Any documented history of domestic violence
What Is The Average Alimony Payment In California
The best way to determine, on average, how much an individual might pay for alimony is by taking 35% to 45% of the highest income earners salary and subtracting 40% to 50% of the lower-income earners salary. These are only rough estimates, and the actual amount of alimony payments will vary depending on the specific situation.
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Length Of Spousal Support
A general rule is that spousal support will last for half the length of a less than 10 years long marriage. However, in longer marriages, the court will not set alimony duration. The burden will be on the party who pays to prove that spousal support is not necessary at some future point in time.
The duration of spousal support is left to the discretion of the court within certain general equitable principals and guidelines most often set forth in common law case histories. In the late 1990s, alimony duration was linked to a transition period from married to single life. The circumstances vary from person to person, but the courts rarely favor lifetime support.
One appellate court put it this way:
As recognized by our Supreme Court, the public policy of this state has progressed from one which entitled some women to lifelong alimony as a condition of the marital contract of support, to one that entitles either spouse to post-dissolution support for only so long as is necessary to become self-supporting.
Determining How Long You Have To Pay Alimony In California
As we have seen, spousal support arrangements are complicated and depend on a variety of factors. In addition, these agreements can be adjusted at any time by agreement of the parties or they can be litigated in situations where the circumstances have changed but an agreement is hard to come by.
In addition, every individual circumstance is different, including the earning potential of the supported party and the ability of the paying party to support their ex. If you are wondering how long you have to pay alimony in California, you can run calculations for temporary spousal support on online calculators, but discussing your options with an attorney is often your best bet, especially for divorces or domestic partnerships with a lot at stake.
At Van Voorhis & Sosna, we have handled spousal support negotiation, mediation, and litigation for hundreds of clients. We know the complexities of divorce in the Bay Area because family law is our sole focus. We offer legal advice and representation based on integrity, trust, and understanding. Contact us today, or call 415.274.2530 to schedule a free legal consultation.
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Will The Court Award Spousal Support If My Spouse And I Were Married For 20 Years
In California, a marriage that lasts for more than 10 years is considered a long term marriage. Therefore, in a situation the marriage lasted for 20 years, it is likely that the court will make a spousal support order. The court will look at the 14 factors of Family Code section 4320 when determining whether to award spousal support. After taking into consideration all the facts and circumstances of the marriage, the court may make a permanent spousal support order which will include the amount of support to be paid and the duration of support payments.