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How To Get Alimony In California

The Hunter Law Group Can Fight For A Fair Support Order

How Spousal Support (Alimony) is Calculated in California

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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Can Spousal Support Be Changed

Both spouses are able to ask the court to modify or terminate a support order. This is typically done if a spouse can demonstrate that, since the original order, circumstances have significantly changed. Examples of this include a court ending or modifying support due to the supported spouse becoming self-supporting or the paying spouse being unable to provide payments due to health issues.

Related Spousal Support FAQs in California

How Are Spousal Support Payments Calculated What Factors Are Used

The first test for calculating spousal support in California is to prove that the requesting spouse needs the support and that the other can provide it.

After this is decided, the court will gather financial information from each spouse for temporary spousal support cases and determine an amount using a guideline formula.

Before this is finalized, a judge must also consider the amount and duration based on several statutory factors. Attorneys often help spouses in court cases by developing evidence based on these factors:

After considering these factors, its essential to note that a judge has great discretion in determining how much spousal support to order.

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The Myth Of Reimbursement Alimony In California

You may have read or heard about a type of spousal support in California called reimbursement support. There’s actually no such thing. When California judges are deciding how much spousal support to award, they’ll consider the supported spouse’s contributions to the other spouse’s education or career. But that’s only one among many factors that go into the overall decision-making on alimony .

The confusion on this issue may have come from a reimbursement provision in California law on dividing community property in divorce. That law requires judges to order that a couple’s community estate be reimbursed for any contributions a spouse made to the other spouse’s education or training, when those contributions significantly enhanced the other spouse’s earning capacity. But that reimbursement might be reduced or offset under some circumstances. And the dollar value of the reimbursement gets counted as part of the community property that will later be divided between the spousesit doesn’t go directly to one spouse as a kind of support. .)

Does California Allow Permanent Alimony

California Spousal Support Calculator

Although some people refer to “permanent alimony,” it’s very rare that spousal support is actually permanent, even after relatively long-term marriages.

Under California law, when a couple gets divorced after a marriage “of long duration,” the court retains jurisdiction indefinitely over the issue of spousal support . That means the judge will continue to have the legal authority to extend, reinstate, or adjust the amount of alimony. It also means that the judge doesn’t have to warn the recipient about the need to become self-supporting if that wouldn’t be appropriate under the circumstances. , 4336 .)

But the rule on indefinite jurisdiction does not necessarily mean that support will continue until death, just because a couple had a long-term marriage. Nor does it mean that the judge won’t expect the recipient to take steps toward the goal of becoming self-supportingunless that’s not feasible given the spouse’s age, physical and mental health, or disability.

The law presumes that any marriage lasting at least 10 years counts as lengthy . But even if a couple was married for less than 10 years, a judge may find that their marriage qualifies for indefinite jurisdiction because of the specific circumstances. .)

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What Are The Basic Steps For Filing For Divorce

While divorce laws vary by state, here are the basic steps:

  • First, you must meet the residency requirements of the state in which you wish to file.
  • Second, you must have grounds to end your marriage.
  • Third, you must file divorce papers and have copies sent to your spouse.
  • Fourth, if your spouse disagrees with anything in the divorce papers, he will then have the opportunity to file papers telling his side. This is called contesting the divorce. In this case, you will have to attend a series of court appearances to sort the issues out. If your spouse does not disagree with anything, he should sign the papers and send them back to you and/or the court. This is called an uncontested divorce. If a certain period of time passes and your spouse does not sign the papers or file any papers of his/her own, you may be able to proceed with the divorce as an uncontested divorce anyway. You should speak to a lawyer in your state about how long you have to wait to see if your spouse answers the divorce papers before you can continue with the divorce.
  • Fifth, if there is property that you need divided, or if you need financial support from your spouse, you will have to work that out in an out-of-court settlement, or in a series of court hearings. Custody may also be decided as part of your divorce.

What Does Cohabitation Really Mean

Cohabitation is more than being roommates.

The code section uses the words nonmarital partner because it requires an interpersonal relationship like that of a romantic relationship.

Think boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. as examples…

If two people simply live together as roommates, but that nonmarital partnership does not exist, this code section may not apply.

I write the word “may not” because the California Family Code section does not specifically define what nonmarital partner means. In practical application, we believe it goes beyond a platonic, roommate relationship.

But be warned, a roommate relationship may also be a proper basis for a modification of alimony.

Any significant circumstance that reduces an ex-spouse’s needs maytrigger a modification request.

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Modifying Or Terminating California Spousal Support

Either spouse can ask the court to modify or terminate a support order. Its incumbent on the requesting party to demonstrate a significant change of circumstances since the original order.

A long-term support order can be modified if:

  • The order was unfair or based on false or incomplete information and was later used as one of the factors to determine the support length and duration. When it can be proven that the court failed to properly consider one or more of these factors, either party may file a motion to amend the order.
  • Changed circumstances such as if either spouse suffers an illness or disability that affects their ability to work, or if other financial changes affect the paying or recipient spouse,

Voluntary actions that create a change in circumstances will result in the denial of a modification request. For example, a modification will be denied if a party voluntarily quits a job, moves into a more expensive dwelling, or if any other voluntary action changes financial condition.

Under California Family Code Section 4337, spousal support automatically terminates when the supported spouse remarries or enters into a domestic partnership or either spouse dies. No new or updated court order is required in these situations.

What Are The Grounds For Divorce Or Legal Separation In California

How to Calculate Permanent Spousal Support (Alimony) in California

You can file for divorce or for legal separation in California based on either of the following grounds :

  • Irreconcilable differences, which have caused the permanent breakdown of the marriage or
  • Permanent legal incapacity to make decisions.1 For this ground, there needs to be proof that the spouse was at the time the petition was filed, and still is, lacking the legal capacity to make decisions.2
  • 1 Ann.Cal.Fam.Code. § 2310

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    Is Spousal Support A Given

    No. The law does not assume that spousal support is required. Instead, a spouse must request alimony during the court proceedings. A judge will then take into account the requirements set forth in California family law to decide how much and how long support will be required. Couples can also negotiate spousal support between themselves however, a judge will still need to approve the final agreement.

    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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    How Long Do You Have To Be Married In California To Get Alimony

    The length of the marriage is one of the critical factors in determining spousal support. When awarding alimony, judges have broad discretion and can decide whether an award is justified even in short-term marriages of less than a year. However, an award may only be ordered for a very short period in cases like this. Long-term support may never be awarded. An alimony obligation may be met through temporary support payments.

    There is a rebuttable presumption for marriages under ten years that alimony is paid for one-half the total length of the marriage. For example, if a couple has been married for six years, the presumption is support should be paid for three years at a maximum.

    Enter The Number Of Dependents

    Workplace Breastfeeding Support In California

    Fourth, you must enter the number of dependents for each spouse. Enter the number of dependents into the appropriate inputs in the California Maintenance Calculator form. The number of dependents should be entered as integer values with no letters or special characters.

    The California Maintenance Calculator uses the number of dependents entered into the calculator inputs to calculate the California income tax dependent exemption amount. The California Maintenance Calculator reduces a spouses overall California income tax liability after California income tax has been calculated by $353.00 per dependent.

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    Contact Our Experienced Los Angeles Firm

    Divorce and family law issues are notoriously complicated and personal, which is why you must hire an attorney with years of experience, as well as the compassion and skill needed to handle these sensitive matters. For the qualified, dedicated legal representation you and your family deserve and need, contact Zitser Family Law Group, APC today.

    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.

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    What Happens With Spousal Support When My Child Support Payments Run Out

    It often occurs in divorce and legal separation cases that child support is ordered along with spousal support. Naturally, if child support is being paid from one spouse to the other, the amount of spousal support that would otherwise be paid is reduced. When child support ends by operation of law , the person that receives spousal support may petition the court to increase the amount of spousal support. Family Code 4326 specifically authorizes such a post-judgment motion. For more information about spousal support, contact our office today. We are conveniently located in Temecula and our managing senior attorney, Justine Marren, is able to meet with you immediately.

    Paying Support To A Spouse Who Doesnt Work

    How Is Spousal Support or Alimony Calculated in California?

    Spousal support is generally one of the first issues that surfaces when parties begin the process of dissolving their marriage. One of the relevant code sections governing support is Family Code Section 4332 which provides:

    In a judgment of dissolution of marriage or legal separation of the parties, the court may order a party to pay for the support of the other party an amount, for a period of time, that the court determines is just and reasonable, based on the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into consideration the circumstances as provided in Chapter 2.

    When seeking spousal support, the lower earning spouse must first file a Request for Order asking that the Court award spousal support . If appropriate, the court will order temporary spousal support pursuant to Family Code Section 3600. Temporary spousal support is a way for the court to ensure that the supported spouses needs are met, and that the status quo is maintained, pending a determination on permanent spousal support. In order for permanent spousal support to be set, the court must consider all of the 4320 factors thus making a separate hearing necessary.

    Now, in cases where the supported spouse is unemployed, it is not uncommon for the supporting spouse to ask that the supported spouse be placed under a work efforts order and request that a Gavron warning be issued pursuant to Family Code 4332, which states:

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    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.

    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.

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    What Affect Does Cohabitation Have On Alimony In California

    Cohabitation and alimony often collide after a California divorce judgment.

    The most common situation goes like this.

  • A person paysalimony to his/her former spouse.
  • The divorce judgment states the alimonyamount and duration of the alimony payment.
  • If it was a short-term marriage,the alimony may have a termination date.
  • If it is a long-term marriage, thealimony duration may be open-ended.
  • After the divorce judgment, the ex-spouse who receives alimony cohabitates with a non-marital partner with whom he/she has arelationship, which includes a same-sex relationship.

    This cohabitation causes the payor of alimony to request a modification or termination of the alimony order.

  • What does cohabitation mean?
  • Do the specificcircumstances matter?
  • Does cohabitation really reduce or end alimony inCalifornia?
  • What arguments does each former spouse have for and againstmodification of alimony because of cohabitation?
  • We will explore these questions in more detail.

    First, here is a quick and informative video on the subject.

    We hope you enjoy this video on how cohabitation affects alimony in California. For those who need an accessible transcript of the video, Here is a link to the video’s transcript.

    How Do You Modify Temporary Spousal Support

    Emotional Support Animal Laws California

    Temporary support may be modified or terminated by the court at any time. No change of circumstances must be shown. This means you don’t have to have any change in your income, their income, or any other circumstance. You can simply ask for another review. But be wary of annoying the judge by arguing something again, especially if you aren’t introducing something new.

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    Does Alimony Ever End In California

    It can. Typically, when one party can prove that there has been a significant and continuing change in circumstances that no longer warrants alimony to be paid, they can request something known as a post-judgment modification. For example, if the person receiving alimony gets remarried, it will almost always constitute an end to alimony. Additionally, if the spouse receiving alimony hits the lottery, gets a higher paying job, or otherwise comes into a large sum of money, it may warrant termination of an alimony agreement. Alimony is a complex and often contentious issue in divorce, which is why if youre looking to receive it, you need our experienced Los Angeles spousal support attorneys in your corner. Weve helped countless individuals in your position over the years, and were prepared to put our knowledge and dedication to work for you as well. All you need to do is pick up the phone and give us a call today.

    Was This Article Helpful

    We hope you enjoyed this article on how long you have to pay alimony after a divorce.

    Please contact us for a strategy session and we can discuss your specific situation and determine whether you have proper grounds to modify alimony after your divorce or, if you are the spouse who receives alimony, whether you have proper grounds to oppose such a request.

    We also encourage you to check out our comprehensive guide on California alimony laws.

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