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How Long Is Alimony In California

How To Avoid Paying Alimony In California


California allows divorcing couples to have control over their divorce proceedings, including alimony issues if they can agree on how to manage the issues in the divorce. This permission enables divorcing parties to negotiate agreements and resolve their divorce cases without relying on California courts. If both parties in a divorce are able to agree that alimony is not necessary, the court will typically not insist on awarding spousal support. Hence, you can avoid paying alimony in California if you have a written statement or agreement with the other divorcing party to avoid spousal support, and the agreement is approved in court.

A prenuptial agreement also allows divorcing parties to establish alimony arrangements prior to their marriage. The agreement or arrangement may be used to either limit alimony to a certain amount or avoid it entirely. If you are unable to obtain a prenuptial agreement, you can also use a postnuptial agreement to avoid paying spousal support. A postnuptial agreement may contain elaborate clauses, including adultery clauses, which may restrict or cancel alimony for a cheating spouse who breaches the stipulated conditions. California courts usually offer couples a lot of leeway with prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.

What Governs The Amount And Duration Of Spousal Support In A Long

When a court orders alimony, it has to look at several factors, including:

  • Each partys earning capacity
  • How much the supported party contributed to the supporting partys education, career or licensure
  • The supporting partys ability to pay
  • Each spouses needs based on the standard of living established during the marriage
  • Each spouses assets and obligations
  • The duration of the marriage
  • Each spouses age and health
  • Evidence of a history of domestic violence or criminal convictions
  • Tax repercussions for each spouse
  • The balance of hardships to each party
  • The ultimate goal that the supported party will be self-supporting within a reasonable amount of time
  • Any other factors the court feels are just and equitable

How Is The Duration Of Alimony Determined

Spousal support is ordered with the goal of the spouse being able to obtain support in order to care for themselves within a reasonable amount of time. The court has the discretion to decide what the duration of spousal support is. Typically, the duration of a permanent or long-term spousal support order is dependent on the length of the marriage.

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How Long Should Alimony Be Paid In California

The purpose of spousal support is for the spouse to acquire support to care for themselves within a reasonable time frame.

The court has the authority to determine the length of spousal support. The length of the marriage often determines the length of a permanent or long-term spousal support order.

That being said, it is vital that you work alongside your California Divorce Lawyer. An attorney will know their way around family law and all the requirements and paperwork that comes with it.

Factors Affecting Alimony In California

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Theres no guarantee a California family court will order a spouse to pay alimony to their ex after a divorce.

Factors influencing the courts decision include the following:

  • Earning capacity and marketable skills of each spouse
  • Whether the earning capacity of a spouse will be limited due to periods of unemployment because the spouse was performing domestic duties
  • Whether the party seeking alimony payments supported their spouses pursuit of their career goals
  • The needs of both spouses as established by the standard of living during their marriage
  • Whether the party seeking alimony can secure gainful employment without interfering with their childrens lives and best interests
  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The age and health of both spouses
  • Documented evidence of domestic violence

Accounting for all these factors can be a complex process. A family courts goal is to establish an alimony arrangement that is best for both parties. However, courts can make mistakes.

You have a better chance of negotiating an arrangement that satisfies your needs and preferences with the help of a qualified family law attorney.

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How Long Does Alimony Last In Nc

In North Carolina, alimony does not have to be indefinite. The length of time a supporting spouse must pay alimony usually determines by the factors that determine alimony eligibility. In most cases, the court will grant alimony for half the length of the marriage. For example, if a couple has been in marriage for ten years, the dependent spouse would receive alimony for five years. However, depending on the circumstances of each spouse, the court may deviate from this at any time.

Alimony payments will cease on the date specified in the court order. Otherwise, payments will stop when one of the following events occur:

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When the receiving spouse remarries when the receiving spouse moves in with someone in a marriage-like relationship or when either spouse dies.

Dont accept less than you deserve, and dont pay more than you can. Our family law attorneys at Dummit Fradin will assist you in determining what is fair in your situation. Theyll go over the specifics of your divorce or separation agreement with you and assist you in negotiating the appropriate spousal support. Contact us today to speak with a lawyer in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, or High Point near you.

Alimony Questions Based On The Years Of Marriage

What we write in this section assumes that alimony is justified in these cases. Just because two people are married and then separate does not automatically mean there will be alimony. The disparity in income, ability to pay, and need consistent with the marital standard of living and the Family Code 4320 factors is still important.

In what we write below, we assume that the person requesting alimony met all of those factors and has a right to receive it. We then provide you with information in marriages of the following duration.

Suppose a marriage is between 2 years to 5 years.

In that case, the court will likely order alimony for half the duration of the marriage. Understand that the halfway duration of the marriage is the outside date. It does not mean the spouse receiving alimony will automatically get it for that time.

It is essential for the person paying alimony to negotiate a termination date of alimony and terminate the court’s ability to award alimony at that halfway or earlier mark.

You do not want an open-ended alimony order that requires you to come back and terminate alimony in the future.

Everything we wrote above applies to marriages under 10 years, except for those marriages that are very close to the 10-year mark. Those close to the 10-year mark have the potential of being treated as a long-term marriage depending on certain factors the court may consider.

10 years or longer make a marriage that of long duration.

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When Does It End

Spousal support generally terminates on the death of either party or on the remarriage of the supported party. It is possible that a party who is cohabitating with a new party may be found to have a reduced need for support.

If the material and relevant conditions change during the support period, either party can request a modification or termination of regular payments. The exception would be if the couple had a written agreement not to seek changes in court.

Keep in mind that spousal support, although a result of divorce, has nothing to do with the cause of the divorce unless there has been domestic violence.

Also, as noted above, spousal support isnt forever. There are guidelines for the duration. And finally, spousal support is not automatic. It depends on many factors. Consulting with a family attorney would be a good place to start if you or your spouse is considering divorce.

Family Code 4336 Text

How Is Spousal Support or Alimony Calculated in California?

Lets now look at long term marriages and, specifically, the California family courtâs retention of its power to make orders for alimony.

California Family Code 4336 through states:

Except on written agreement of the parties to the contrary or a court order terminating alimony, the court retains jurisdiction indefinitely in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the parties where the marriage is of long duration.

For the purpose of retaining jurisdiction, there is a presumption affecting the burden of producing evidence that a marriage of 10 years or more, from the date of marriage to the date of separation, is a marriage of long duration. However, the court may consider periods of separation during the marriage in determining whether the marriage is in fact of long duration. Nothing in this subdivision precludes a court from determining that a marriage of less than 10 years is a marriage of long duration.

Nothing in this section limits the courtâs discretion to terminate alimony in later proceedings on a showing of changed circumstances.

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Can My Employer Fire Me Because Of A Spousal Support Wage Garnishment

No. It is illegal for any employer to fire an employee because of a wage garnishment. Also, you employer cannot discriminate an employee on the basis of a wage garnishment. If your employer is threatening to fire you or is discriminating against you because of the spousal support wage garnishment it is important that you take to your lawyer.

Motions For Summary Judgement

For California marriages that last longer than ten years, the court will likely determine the duration and amount of support to award by weighing factors such as the following:

  • The marketable job skills of the supported party, the employment opportunities for those skills, and the cost and expense of additional training to update those skills.
  • Reduced earning capacity of the supported party due to periods of unemployment where they performed domestic duties.
  • The extent to which the supported party helped the supporting party obtain education, career advancement, training, or a license.
  • The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support.
  • Each partys needs based on the standard of living maintained during the marriage.
  • Each partys health and age.
  • Each partys assets and obligations.
  • The marriage duration.

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How Is Alimony Calculated In California

Courts in various California counties use slightly different factors when calculating temporary alimony. Note that the rules in your local court will explain how temporary alimony is calculated in your county. For instance, the superior courts of Solano County in California have approved a spousal support calculation known as the “Santa Clara Guideline” for use in temporary alimony. Alameda and Contra Costa county governments have adopted the “Alameda Guideline” formula. The guideline suggests that spousal support be approximately 40% of the paying party’s net monthly income, minus half of the receiving party’s net monthly income. For instance, if the party paying alimony earns $10,000 monthly, and the dependent spouse earns $5,000 monthly, the spousal support granted is likely to be about $1,500 per month. Note that if the party paying alimony also pays child support, alimony is computed after child support is determined.

Determining California’s permanent spousal support or alimony does not follow any standard guidelines. In deciding the amount to be paid for permanent alimony, the court will assess the case based on the factors stated in Section 4320 of the stateâs Family Code.

Does Domestic Violence Affect Spousal Support

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A spouse or domestic partner that is the victim of domestic violence may ask for support without filing for divorce or legal separation. An order of support can also be requested when one spouse obtains a domestic violence restraining order against the other.

When domestic violence is present during a marriage, the court must consider this as a factor when determining permanent spousal support, as long as the domestic violence is documented.

Under California Family Code 4325, in any case where a spouse is convicted of domestic violence against the spouse within the past five years, there is a rebuttable presumption that the perpetrator spouse is not entitled to receive spousal support.

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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.

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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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.

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How Is Spousal Support / Alimony Calculated In Ca

In California, spousal support is determined by the court based on a number of factors, including:

  • Earning capacities
  • Contributions by the supported party to the supporting partys education and career
  • Ability to pay support
  • Needs based on the established marital standard of living
  • Financial obligations and assets
  • Ability to find gainful employment
  • Immediate and specific tax consequences
  • Hardship to either party

Can You Modify Your Spousal Support Order In California


Someone can modify a spousal support order or terminate it early in California. This can occur in two different ways. The first is both spouses agreeing to the modification and bringing a new agreement to the court for an official order. The second is one spouse showing evidence of a material change of circumstances from the date of the original court order. A significant decrease in income, for example, could impact a spousal support order. For more information about spousal support amounts and duration in California, contact a family law attorney.

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Spousal Support In California: Does California Guarantee Alimony For Life After Ten Years Of Marriage

By: Swetha Gopalakrishnan and Payal Chhabria

There is a common misconception that when a California couple divorces after more than ten years of marriage, one party will be guaranteed alimony for life under the Ten Year Rule. This rule does not exist in California. Specifically, California courts consider marriages of at least ten years to be of long duration. Judges may revisit alimony rulings indefinitely for marriages of long duration.

How Much Is Alimony In California

Alimony cases are handled on a case-by-case basis in California courts. Hence, the amount of alimony depends on the circumstances and facts of each case. First, California courts treat temporary alimony differently from permanent alimony. Therefore, if you are requesting alimony while a divorce action is ongoing, the court balances your needs with the capacity of the other spouse to pay spousal support. The court will use a spousal support formula to calculate the appropriate amount of spousal support, but the court is not mandated to follow the calculations precisely. The formula is designed to allocate net income evenly between the divorcing parties.

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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 Do You Have To Pay Alimony In A Very Long

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California law does not define a “very” long-term marriage. For practical purposes, we consider marriages of 20 or more years to be very long-term.

And practically speaking, it is probably easier to terminate alimony in a marriage that is 10 years and one month that it is in a marriage that is 30 years and one month. How much easier of course depends on the facts of each case.

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