What You Need to Know About Alimony in California

What You Need to Know About Alimony in California

Jun 24

When determining alimony, the state of California takes into consideration a couple’s lifestyle during the time they were married. The spouse who earns the most money may have to accommodate the other after the divorce, and the court does not take gender into consideration. If the judge decides one spouse must give money to the other in order for the former spouse to continue living in a similar manner, then this is referred to as spousal support or alimony.

Types of Spousal Support

There are three types of alimony that the judge may deem appropriate for your situation. Temporary support is a brief form of alimony that may last until the divorce proceedings are over, but it could last longer. Spousal support is a continuous form of alimony that could last several years after the divorce. As circumstances change, the court is willing to renegotiate the terms of the alimony agreement. The judge may also decide that a one-time payment of alimony in the form of a lump-sum is the most appropriate way for the former spouse to receive support.

How to Determine the Duration of Alimony

The court takes into consideration how long a couple has been married. If the former spouses were together less than ten years, then it’s likely that the alimony order will be for less than five years. For couples that were together longer than ten years, it becomes more difficult to determine with certainty. If the former spouse cannot work full-time or they sacrificed career opportunities to raise a family, the judge may be more inclined to award more support. However, the paying spouse may be able to demand that the receiving spouse support themselves after a certain amount of time. Either way, the attorneys on both sides of the argument will have their hands full trying to prove their point.

Calculation Alimony Payments

The court uses a complicated formula to determine how much alimony should be awarded to a former spouse, and it is based roughly on 50 percent of the income of the lower earning spouse compared to 40 percent of the higher earning spouse’s income. As the final amount is determined, adjustments will be made to compensate for things like taxes and child support.

Making Adjustments

Unless both couples signed an agreement that prohibits any adjustments to the final agreement, the alimony contract can be changed. Either spouse has the right to request the agreement be modified or terminated, depending on new developments regarding the former spouse’s financial situation. If either spouse dies, then the alimony agreement will automatically be terminated. Should the receiving spouse decide to cohabit a dwelling with another romantic partner, then alimony payments may not be necessary anymore. The same is true if the receiving spouse remarries because the state of California presumes that there is less financial need than before. Alimony arrangements are complicated and complex. For more information, the Law Offices of Baden V. Mansfield site has a lot of information about alimony in California.