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.
Judges Use The Formula As Guide Or Starting Point
These formulas are just guides. The judge can vary the amount based on your situation.
For example, it might vary if you or your spouse:
Pay for your child to attend college
Have high medical bills
Have a lot of money in savings
You and your spouse can always agree to a different amount that makes sense for your situation.
Get help from your court.
What Is Considered Income For Spousal Support
If youre like many people going through a divorce in California, you need to know what is considered income for spousal support. Thats true whether youre likely to have to pay spousal support or whether youre likely to receive it.
Usually, the court awards alimony to the lower-earning spouse. Its a way to level the playing field so that the lower earner has time to get on his or her feet and become completely self-sufficient.
When a judge awards spousal support, he or she must consider the paying spouses income.
But what is considered income for spousal support? Heres what you need to know.
Related: If I get remarried, do I still have to pay alimony?
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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.
Excessive Alimony In California And How To Avoid Paying It
by Kendall Gkikas & Mitchell, LLP | Jul 21, 2017 | Family Law
Home » Blog » Excessive Alimony in California and How to Avoid Paying It
When applied correctly, alimony is fair. When applied incorrectly, it can be a huge burden on the person whos paying it. However, even if you believe that your alimony is much higher than it should be, you cant simply stop paying it without the potential for serious consequences. Read on to learn more about the legal ways you can work to reduce the amount of alimony you pay, then reach out to Kendall Gkikas & Mitchell at 909-482-1422 to set up a consultation.
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How To Avoid Paying Spousal Support The Purpose And Essence Of This Blog Post
How to avoid paying spousal support guidance is not a way to trick your ex-spouse or avoid the law. Rather is a broad comprehensive approach to which aspect of life should be considered in deciding and calculating spousal support. Spousal support is payments made to minimize the negative unfair economic impact of divorce on the low income ex-spouses until they are able to get to a level to be able to support themselves.
As we discussed in our calculating alimony in California article, there are Support Guidelines for temporary spousal support and certain factors ( family code section 4320 for permanent spousal support.
In practice, the permanent spousal support is calculated a little lower than support calculated under Support Guidelines
Reduce Their Potential Expenditures
Alimony is intended to help someone pay their living expenses. It may cover all of their living expenses for a time or make up the difference between what they earn and what they need to provide a comparable standard of living. You could reduce the need for alimony by reducing their potential expenditures. A common solution is forcing the sale of a family home and forcing both parties to move into an apartment. Then you dont have to pay alimony to pay for maintaining a home that is far more than one person could afford.
Force the sale of assets to pay off your debts. Sell furniture and third cars so that you can pay off the notes on the remaining cars. If your ex owns the car free and clear, they cant demand $1500 a month, $500 of which was to pay the car payment. You could also ask for the more expensive cars to be sold, the debts to be paid off, and then buy cheaper used cars free and clear. Use common assets to pay off both parties student loans. Pay off jointly held credit cards and then cancel them. This has the side benefit of preventing them from running up future debt in your name.
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Ways To Avoid Alimony In California
Many couples expect alimony or spousal support when they get divorced. If one spouse makes more money than the other or was solely responsible for the familys income, their spouse might expect or demand alimony, but courts should only give in to those demands when a claim for alimony is justified.
Courts look at many factors when deciding whether to grant spousal support. The California Family Code gives multiple factors that the court should look at in each case, including the following:
- Each spouses income, assets, and debts
- Each spouses physical health and age
- Each spouses training, education, and experience that could lead to a job
- Each spouses ability to work while caring for young children
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living and lifestyle of the spouses during the marriage
Courts tend to try to use alimony to allow a transition period, favoring short-term alimony over permanent alimony. Especially in marriages lasting under 10 years, the courts will often limit spousal support payments to half the length of the marriage, which gives the recipient enough time to get back on their own two feet and support themselves again. However, courts may deny alimony altogether in cases where the spouses are on equal financial footing and can each take care of themselves.
When Can Spousal Support Be Waived
Under California law, spousal support can be waived by a person prior to the marriage in a prenuptial agreement. However, there are specific requirements that must be met in order for an individual to waive or provide provisions to their right to alimony. The future spouse must have independent legal counsel at the time of signing the prenuptial agreement and the terms must be conscionable at the time of signing. If these requirements are met, spouses are allowed to determine support before the wedding.
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Avoid Paying Alimony To A Spouse Refusing To Work
If youre in a situation where your spouse is capable of having gainful employment but refuses to work, then one option available to you is a vocational examination. Once ordered, the vocational examiner will evaluate your spouses earning ability and capacity to work. They will then report to the court whether your spouse can and should earn an income. If the examiner sets a number and the court agrees, the court may impute income to the spouse.
In Which Case Alimony Is Not Granted
If a spouse is already getting assistance from another source at the time that they are going through a divorce, it is very rare for that spouse to be awarded alimony. Despite the fact that under such circumstances, the payment of alimony may be subject to revision depending on the grounds presented in favor of the support claim,
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Help For The Higher Earning Spouse Who Wants To Avoid Paying Alimony
This article is for the higher earning spouse during the marriage who has a potential exposure to alimony.
This article is not for the spouse who wants to violate a court order or lie to the court about his or her income. Our firm does not represent such spouses.
This article on how to avoid paying alimony is all about smart, preventive measures that are consistent with the law.
For a comprehensive look at alimony, check out our excellent guide on California alimony laws. .
Ready? Let’s dive into this interesting topic. Everything we write here applies only to California divorces.
How To Avoid Paying Alimony In California
If you are considering divorce in California, it is important to understand the alimony laws and how they may impact you. Many people ask, How can I avoid paying alimony in California? This is a highly complex question, as many factors will determine whether you pay alimony and how much. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Every situation is different, and the best way to avoid paying alimony will vary depending on your specific circumstances. However, by taking the time to understand the most common ways to avoid alimony payments, you can put yourself in a much better position to protect your finances.
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What Should I Do If I Dont Pay Alimony In Los Angeles
If you are owed alimony and your ex-spouse is not paying, you may want to seek out an attorney to help enforce the court order and seek one of these remedies. If on the other hand, you are the payor, ordered to make the payments but feel that you cannot make the payment and need help, you may be eligible to request that the alimony be modified or even terminated. An experienced attorney can go over your particular situation to advise you on what options you have based on your individual circumstances.
How Does Adultery Affect Divorce In Ca
Some states once required that you have some type of grounds for filing for divorce. Today, every state follows a no-fault divorce law, meaning that you no longer must prove your spouse was at fault in some way you only have to establish that you wish to end the marriage or that your spouse is incurably insane. Additionally, divorce does not have to be an agreement if you wish to divorce, your spouse does not have to agree with you. Adultery was a commonly-cited reason for divorce in past years, but it is no longer necessary to prove your spouse cheated on you to secure a divorce.
Even though adultery isnt against the law, an adulterous spouse may still have to deal with the consequences of his or her actions during divorce proceedings. If a judge determines that one spouses adultery had any type of measurable impact on the marriage in terms of finances or children, the judge may require the adulterous spouse to pay penalties or lose a portion of the divided property.
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A Forensic Accountant Can Help You Keep Monthly Alimony To A Reasonable Dollar Amount
Instead, with the aid of a respected and experienced forensic accountant, that accountant and family law attorney can estimate what income available for support actually is on a predictable month to month basis.
The forensic accountant can also advise what the self-employed spouse may receive in additional bonuses or distributions.
The factors may include income history, the particular industry and more. Nobody can predict such numbers but at least history may give the spouse, attorney and forensic accountant indicators to come up with reasonable amounts.
This will allow the self-employed spouse to figure out a base alimony number and then a reasonable percentage of the bonus or distribution if and when it is received, as additional alimony.
But the analysis does not stop there. Keep reading.
Have A Judge Evaluate Your Spouses Fitness To Work
Even if it causes financial difficulty or is not 100% required, a spouse may opt to remain a homemaker or stay-at-home parent after a divorce. You can ask a judge to do a vocational review if your spouse is educated and has the ability to seek well-paying work. Its an objective evaluation that tells you how much your spouse could earn if they took a job in their field of expertise.
Even if you dont have a job when you go to court, alimony may be imposed on a temporary basis. Payments that are on a long-term or indefinite basis are still preferable.
Keep in mind that your spouse may simply require some space while they try to establish their own household, locate a well-paying career, and relearn how to live alone. Short-term alimony payments will assist them in getting back on track, especially if they took time off to care for children or help you enhance your profession.
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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.
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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Can I Get Out Of Paying Alimony In California
Posted in Spousal Support on January 5, 2022
Alimony known as spousal support in California is an order that may be given in a divorce or legal separation case if there is an income disparity between the two parties. The purpose of alimony is to allow the lower-earning spouse to maintain his or her standard of living after the divorce. If the court orders you to pay alimony, there are circumstances where you may be able to reduce the amount that you owe or avoid paying altogether.
How Long Does Alimony Last
The answer to this question depends on the circumstances. The courts calculate alimony timelines based on factors such as the length of the marriage, the ability of the supported spouse to get a job and the age of the recipient. Some alimony orders last weeks or months, while others last years or are indefinite.
Also Check: How Long To Be Married For Alimony
Strategy : Your Spouse May Not Get Alimony If They Dont Have Custody
If your spouse is not awarded sole custody of the kids, they may not need money from alimony payments. Caring for children means that you have a significantly higher cost of living. Taking away the financial responsibility of providing care for your children may just lower the amount of money that is needed for your spouse to maintain their living standard. It may just give your spouse the chance to find their footing on their own in terms of their finances without the help of alimony payments.
Your ex will not need additional money, and you will decrease the amount of alimony you can provide by being the sole caregiver for your kids. You will face high costs like daycare, groceries, education, and clothing in paying for the children, which will cut into your expendable income. Some children have special needs, or ongoing expenses like diapers, doctor visits, or tutoring. The costs associated with raising a child or children may just eliminate your ability to pay alimony altogether.
In some cases, your spouse may even be given the order to make child support payments that can help take care of the costs associated with caring for and raising a young child. Be sure to carefully consider if you can be the sole caregiver for your children. You should never use this strategy as a means to avoid paying alimony or get child support monies from your spouse.