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How Long Do You Have To Pay Alimony In California

How Long Does Spousal Support Last


For short-term marriages, the general rule is that spousal support in California is awarded for half the length of the marriage. Any marriage less than 10 years is considered a short-term marriage.

For long-term marriages , a judge will not set a termination date on permanent spousal support. That doesnt necessarily mean spousal support will last forever. In fact, the judge could set spousal support at $0.

Keep in mind that marriage is defined as the period between the date of marriage and the date of separation.

A judge will rarely set an alimony award longer than a marriage. In most courts, the thinking is that lesser earning spouses will receive support for as long as they need and as long as the other spouse can pay.

California places the burden on the paying party to prove that spousal support is no longer required at a future date. The recipient spouse also has an obligation to work towards being self-supporting.

Courts have a lot of discretion in determining how long alimony should last within general equitable principles and guidelines.

After the divorce is final, alimony continues according to the terms in your marital settlement agreement or the alimony award. Typically, a spousal support award continues until one spouse requests a modification or termination of support or the duration expires.

How Long Do You Have To Pay Alimony If The Other Person Refuses To Become Self

We wrote an article on this topic of Gavron warnings in California. We encourage you to read it.

A spouse who receives alimony and who has been given an admonition to become self-supporting plays a dangerous game if he or she fails to make reasonable efforts to become self-supporting.

In such a circumstance, the court has the power to reduce alimony or eliminate it altogether.

A Quick Guide To Paying And Getting Alimony In California

One spouse makes alimony payments to the other after divorce or while a divorce case is pending, as per court order or the couple’s agreement. States refer to alimony in various ways, such as spousal support and maintenance, although they all generally mean the same thing.

One spouse may be ordered by the court to pay alimony to the other when a married couple decides to separate or get a divorce in California legally.

That said, alimony is often tied to the messy aspects of divorce. You could be paid too little, compelled to pay too much, or be subjected to penalties.

Here’s a quick summary of alimony payments and how our prescreened California family law attorneys handle them:

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When Would The Presumption That Spousal Support Should Decrease Upon Cohabitation Be Rebutted

A recipient of spousal support may fight a request to terminate or reduce spousal support even though they are cohabiting with another person. For example, suppose the recipient spouse shows evidence that they and their new relationship do not share any expenses and pay for everything separately in such a case, the presumption would be rebutted because the financial circumstances of the supported party have not changed.

Modern Family Lawcalifornia Spousal Support

What are liabilities

At Modern Family Law our goal is to find the best solution for you and your family. Our family law attorneys take their time to listen to your case and handle it as effectively as possible. We understand that child custody cases can be scary, stressful, and devastating. With that in mind, our attorneys approach each case with empathy and integrity to help guide our clients through these difficult times.

Spousal support is often called either maintenance or alimony. Spousal support is money thats owed from one spouse to the other, above and beyond a property division. It may be temporary, or it may be permanent. Its usually ordered in a fixed amount, for a fixed period of time. For example, a judge could order $1,000 per month for the next 5 years.

Failure to pay support payments can result in stiff penalties. Those penalties may include jail time or loss of your drivers license, depending on the amount owed and reason for a failure to pay. Its better to make arrangements than get a court involved.

Our attorneys are ready to listen to the specifics of your case and to help you understand your best course of action. or schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys.

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What Happens To Spousal Support If One Party Cohabitates With Someone After A Spousal Support Order Is Made

The California Family Code 4323 states that there is a rebuttable presumption affecting spousal support when the recipient of support begins cohabitating with another person where it is not a bona fide roommate situation. In simple terms, if the recipient of spousal support begins cohabitating with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or fiancé, there is a presumption that the support recipients needs for support are reduced. The support obligor can file a motion to reduce, limit or terminate spousal support in such a case.

Can I Terminate A Spousal Support Order

As long as you can show a legally acceptable change in circumstances, you may be able to completely terminate your obligation to make alimony payments, unless the order was made non-terminable at the time it was issued. Conditions that may warrant a termination include:

  • A decrease in your income that is out of your control, such as serious illness
  • You are over 65 and want to retire
  • Your former spouse has increased their income
  • Your former spouse has remarried

In addition, a support obligation automatically terminates on the death of the supported spouse. Their estate cannot enforce the alimony order to its own benefit if they die before the payment obligation ends.

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Contact The Law Offices Of H William Edgar

When facing an alimony agreement, it is important to have an attorney who can help you navigate the negotiations. In order to get what you deserve, your attorney must present your case properly and effectively.

Our team at the Law Offices of H. William Edgar has been helping divorcing spouses navigate alimony for many years. We understand the challenges and benefits of these agreements, and we work diligently to ensure that we find a fair and equitable solution.

What Happened To Becoming Self

Common questions about paying child support

If the supported spouse isn’t making efforts to become self-supporting, you may have cause to seek a modification to the support order. You may also be able to request a change if the supported spouse is cohabitating with a partner. The court will use the same factors it used in making the initial support order to decide if modification or termination is warranted.

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What Is A Gavron Warning

A Gavron Warning is essentially a court notice advising supported spouses that they are expected to become self-supporting within a reasonable amount of time. The goal is to prevent them from relying indefinitely on their former spouse to support them.

The Gavron Warning gets its name from the case , decided in 1988 by the Second Appellate District Court of California. The court ruled that before modifying or terminating a spousal support order, the supported party must be informed of their obligations to become self-sufficient. Around this time, courts began to move away from the idea of permanent spousal support orders in favor of the requirement that supported spouses make efforts to become self-sufficient.

Marital Standard Of Living

The marital standard of living refers to the lifestyle that both parties enjoyed during the duration of their marriage. This standard of living will include considerations such as:

  • How often did the couple eat out?
  • Where the couple usually shopped for clothing
  • How much did the couple spend on their housing situation?
  • How big is the marital house?
  • Where was the marital house located?
  • What types of schools did the children go to?
  • Where and how often did the couple go on vacations?

After the divorce, it is typically not feasible for both spouses to maintain the same lifestyle as they once enjoyed together.

For example, in re Marriage of Smith, this case describes the marital standard of living within your means. This case displayed that if both parties were spending more than the income they were taking each month, this should not be a deciding factor in what the court will determine as the marital standard of living. The court will then have to look at the actual income earned rather than the amount spent.

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Understanding How Support Is Calculated Can Be Difficult

California law requires courts to adhere to statewide, uniform guidelines in setting child support orders, but one thing that is commonly misunderstood is that while child support calculators use a specific formula, they are only as correct as the information entered into them. Unlike child support, where there is a standard formula, there is no set formula the court uses for spousal support, which is why spousal support tends to be one of the biggest sources of contention and conflict during a divorce. As divorce mediators, we can help you and your spouse better understand all of the factors that impact how child or spousal support is calculated and calculate it for you. We know there are many intense emotions involved in this process, and we will always ensure that both of you are comfortable with your agreement.

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Do Not Assume Alimony Terminates On Its Own

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The mistake some people make is to assume just because they have paid alimony for half the duration of a short-term marriage, they can simply stop paying it.

But unless the actual divorce judgment terminates alimony at the half-way mark, the alimony may continue after that time. That is why an attorney must review your judgment to give you advice.

So how long you have to pay alimony after a divorce judgment in a short-term marriage is not something you can assume.

Just because you hit the one half way duration of the marriage mark does not mean alimony automatically ends. Instead, you should seek a family law attorney’s advice to tell you when the appropriate time is to proceed to court and end alimony.

Read Also: When Do You Have To Pay Alimony

Contact A Los Angeles Family Law Lawyer For Help

Our review above has shown that California spousal support arrangements can get complex and always depends on many different factors.

As you can see, alimony can be modified at any time by mutual agreement of the spouses parties or they take the issue to a family law court for litigation where the circumstances could impact spousal support payments.

If you want information on how long you have to pay spousal support in California, contact our office to review details of your situation.

Our law firm handles any type of issue related to divorce, child support, child custody, mediation, property division, and modification of support orders.

Furman & Zavatsky are Los Angeles divorce and family law attorneys that have a record of success. We represent clients throughout Southern California, including LA County, Ventura County, and Simi Valley, California.

We are located in the San Fernando Valley area of LA County at 15821 Ventura Blvd #690 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case consultation at 528-3471.

When And How Is Support Ordered

Many marriages and domestic partnerships end without either spouse paying this type of support.

Long-term support is more common when:

  • The marriage was long

  • One person earns significantly more than the other

The judge can make three types of spousal support orders.

  • Order an amount of support that one spouse pays the other
  • Reserve spousal support – this means that the court is not ordering support now. But, it could in the future. So, support is $0 now but could be changed at a later date.
  • End the ability of the court to award support

You can agree about the type of support order you want. If you cant agree, you can ask a judge to decide.

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It Pays To Know Some Key Spousal Support Terms

Family law in California can be a complicated field, and its complexity can be compounded by the emotions and frustrations that come with ending a marriage or domestic partnership. One place to start taking control of your situation is by knowing some key terms. These are especially valuable if you think you will be able to negotiate a support order with your partner because these are the concepts that the courts consider when assessing the fairness of a spousal support order.

Depending on your partner and your particular situation, you may not ever have a temporary spousal support order or agreement. If the divorce will be complicated or contentious, however, a temporary support order may be in both parties best interest. For the supported party, it represents an immediate boost of income to help with the day-to-day. For the supporting party, it can be an opportunity to carve out more accurately the marital standard of living.

How To Modify Spousal Support

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Unless a couple specifically agreed that alimony may not be modified, judges may change or end spousal support if that’s necessary because there’s been a change of circumstances. In re Marriage of Minkin,11 Cal.App.5th 939 .)

If you believe that changed circumstances warrant a modification of spousal support that you’re receiving or paying, you may file a motion with the court. California offers a simplified procedure for requesting a modification of a support order that’s intended to be used by people without lawyers. But you should know that in most situations, unless you and your spouse have an agreement about the proposed changes, spousal support modification proceedings involve complicated legal issues that are best handled by an experienced family law attorney.

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How Do I Prove My Ex Iscohabiting

At your hearing, the Court will apply the rules of Evidence. The Court will not consider your evidence unless it is admissible. Not all evidence is admissible in a court of law. Social media, witness testimony and documentary evidence may prove cohabitation. However, the rules of evidence may limit the admissibility of such information. This is why you need experienced Orange County spousal support attorneys to make sure your cohabitation evidence is admissible.

It is also possible that your exwill admit to cohabitation, but argue that support is still necessary. More onthat below.

If you are not sure your ex iscohabiting, you should consult with a skilled family law attorney to develop astrategy for proving cohabitation early in your case.

The Hunter Law Group Can Fight For A Fair Support Order

Our firm has handled countless spousal support cases and understands Orange Countys spousal support guidelines in detail. We can skillfully determine your net monthly income and ensure that your spouses income is properly calculated, as well. We can then work to make sure that you receive or are required to pay what is fair and lawful.

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The Court Sometimes Uses A Computer Program To Determine Temporary Alimony

The key word there is temporary alimony. There is a big difference between temporary alimony and the final alimony amount. Even the word final alimony you should take with a grain of salt because alimony is usually modifiable after a divorce judgment.

Neither an alimony calculator nor the computer program courts and lawyers rely on helps very much for the alimony at the judgment phase.

That alimony number is no longer the temporary number or even the post-judgment number. That is because California law generally forbids the judge to rely on any computer program to determine any alimony number except for the temporary number. In other words, it is really only good for the temporary number and not much else.

Some lawyers still use the computer program when determining what the final alimony number should be. Is that wise? It depends.

If done by an experienced family law attorney who knows what they are doing, then it may provide a range of potential numbers. But that takes some program tweaking and something I have not yet seen an online California alimony calculator be able to do.

What Happens When Child Support Ends

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Child support, which typically ends when a child reaches 18, is calculated separately from alimony, but the two are closely related. Often when spousal support was calculated, the amount was reduced due to the smaller pool of funds left over after child support was set. With those payments ended, more money may now be available for spousal support.

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Does The Court Discriminate Based On Gender When Ordering Spousal Support

The family law judges in Hemet, California are not allowed to discriminate based on gender for any issue involved in a divorce or legal separation case, including when spousal support is at issue. The United States federal law as well as California law ensures that biases regarding gender is to be avoided. Additionally, our partners have sat as Judge Pro Tem for the Superior Court in California, and as a result they were required to participate in training and ethics to eliminate bias based on race and gender. All judges sitting in courts throughout California are required to participate in this training. Notwithstanding this required training for judges, they are human and natural bias or discrimination may play a role in their decision-making. It is helpful to hire a lawyer that knows the judges tendencies with respect to ordering spousal support before litigating a case.

Speak To A Spousal Support Lawyer Today

When youre requesting or being asked for spousal support, its natural to wonder how long alimony payments last in CA. At the Law Offices of Renkin & Associates, we can answer your questions and assist you in obtaining, modifying, and terminating spousal support orders. For more information about our family law practice or to schedule a consultation, please contact us.

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