Understanding Family Law – Spousal Support in California

Hossein Berenji, Mar 30, 2016

Californians may see the opportunity to change the way alimony works in their state in November 2016. This change would come about if a Los Angeles area man can get 365,880 signatures from registered voters.

The man’s petition calls for the California Legislature to end the award of alimony during divorce and annulment proceedings, and only reserve alimony awards until after a divorce is final. His plan would effectively eliminate most forms of temporary support. Temporary support can be important before a final order to help with expenses while there is uncertainty about an outcome.

While time will tell if that man’s petition will be successful other similar petitions have appeared with little support, California’s current spousal support laws are complex, and require the help of an experienced attorney to navigate through. If you need assistance, call the divorce lawyers at Berenji & Associates today for a free case evaluation.

What happens when I divorce my spouse?

Depending on the economic circumstances and other factors of a divorcing couple, the family Court in California may require a spouse that is more economically well off to pay another. This is what is known as spousal support or alimony. Generally, the spouse that makes more money will end up supporting the spouse that makes less money. California is one of the few states that have also recognized “palimony”, which is a form of support between two unmarried people if those two people agree to this form of support.

Prior to a divorce being final, temporary spousal support may be ordered. This temporary support is often calculated through a mathematical formula, which differs by county. If an obligation to support a spouse extends past a temporary duration, a family court judge may look at various factors in determining the amount of the award that balance need for support and the ability to pay.

The goal of these factors is that the party who is receiving alimony can ultimately become self-supporting. A judge may order support for a short-term basis or a long-term arrangement. California considers marriages that last longer than ten years long-term marriages and an individual form this type of marriage may qualify for a lifetime of support. While few cases actually qualify for spousal support, Los Angeles family judges will order support if the circumstances call for it.

Will I always have to pay the same amount?

In many cases what is fair the day an order is issued may not remain fair for the paying or receiving party later on. Occasionally, spousal support may be modified if a party has a significant change in income either by an increase or decrease.

Spousal support may also be modified if an individual retires or if the former spouse of someone paying alimony is intentionally unemployed. Modification of an existing alimony payment can be difficult and should not be done without the help of a qualified lawyer.

Have you recently been through a divorce or need a modification of your alimony payment?

If you are going through a divorce or have questions about spousal support, do not hesitate to contact us today. Berenji & Associates are attorneys who have experience with all different types of spousal support cases.

Divorce can be an unpleasant experience for everyone involved, but we can help you get the most positive outcome.

Berenji & Associates
9595 Wilshire Blvd Ste 959
Beverly Hills, CA 90211