Alimony in California

Hossein Berenji, Aug 16, 2016

While the facts of any separation or divorce can vary greatly, generally one thing that remains constant is the that one spouse will get some form of spousal support, whether it be long-term or temporary, to allow him or her to maintain the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage.

Every state has unique laws for the awarding and calculation of spousal support, and California is no exception. The legal issues behind spousal support can be complex and can affect how you pay your taxes and how you save for retirement. An attorney who has experience ensuring a court’s spousal support agreement is fair can be a big help in alimony cases.

Two Different Kinds of California Spousal Support

Depending on the agreement or arrangement between you and your spouse, there are two time periods in which you may have an obligation for spousal support. These are temporary and permanent. Temporary support is only paid until the divorce is finalized. During any divorce proceedings, the spouse with a higher income will generally pay money to the spouse with the lower income so he or she can continue to live comfortably. There is also permanent support that continues after the two parties finish their divorce. However, often times parties remarry or find jobs that eliminate the requirement for spousal support. Additionally, there are multiple cases in which the amount of support may be increased, decreased, or removed altogether.

Spousal support, both temporary and permanent can be modified because circumstances between spouses can change. This can include changes in career status, remarriage, and inheritance.

What are Some Factors California Courts Consider in Determining a Support Award?

The courts will primarily focus on each spouse’s need for support and each spouse’s ability to pay. Other factors include the length of the marriage, child support paid, and the ability of each spouse to become gainfully employed. The courts will also consider tax consequences for each spouse. Additionally, a number of other factors are considered by California family courts, and a more complete list can be found in the California Family Code 4320.

Can My Spouse be Forced to Pay More Money if they Committed Adultery?

California law does not provide that alimony can be used as a way to punish a spouse who committed some act of misconduct, including adultery. While some states do allow a bar to alimony because of marital misconduct, California focuses on ensuring the parties have the proper financial resources they need.

Do You Need Help Determining the Amount of Support You are Owed?

If you are going through a divorce and need answers about spousal support, the lawyers at Berenji & Associates are here for you. We understand what family courts use in determining support awards and have experience in getting support orders modified. If you need help with your support issues, do not hesitate to contact us.